King: ‘Susan Rice Should Resign’

Sep 28, 2012 Issues: Counterterrorism

National Review Online - By Katrina Trinko

House Homeland Security Committee chairman Pete King is calling on U.N. ambassador Susan Rice to resign over her comments on the Sunday talk shows September 16 regarding the Libyan attacks.

“I think Susan Rice should resign. She is America’s foreign policy spokesman to the world as ambassador to the U.N.,” King, a Republican congressman from New York, tells National Review Online.

Rice appeared on five Sunday morning shows five days after the attacks.  On ABC’s This Week, she said, “Our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous – not a premeditated – response to what had transpired in Cairo,” despite the fact that U.S. officials knew terrorism was involved in the attacks within 24 hours after the attack.

“Very nice person, very smart,” King says of Rice, “but the fact is she gave out information which was either intentionally or unintentionally misleading and wrong and there should be consequences for that. And I don’t see how she didn’t know how that that information was wrong. What she could have and should have said was the final word isn’t in yet, certainly strong evidence that there was strong terrorist involvement, [but identifying] the exact nature it’ll  take us a few more days. That would have been legitimate.”

King also called for an investigation into what was known before the attack. “This warrants a full investigation,” he says. “I believe there should be a congressional investigation. I think there should be an internal investigation.”

Benghazi, he adds, “was a hotbed of al-Qaeda activity, of militia activity, of terrorist activity. We knew that the facilities that we were using there were not adequately fortified. These were temporary, basically private residences which had almost none of the protections that a consulate should have.”

“To allow the American ambassador to go there,” he continues, “ to allow us to keep records or documentation there or anything  in such an unsecure and such a dangerous area and such unsecure facilities with such little security appears to be gross negligence, and may be criminal negligence.”

He also criticized the administration’s reluctance to call the attacks terrorism. “Either they intentionally mislead the American people or they were extremely uninformed,” King remarks. “Neither excuse is very good. From the start, I can see them saying we’re not certain what caused it, but the presumption from the start should have been that it was a terrorist attack or the terrorist were heavily involved.”

Obama, he speculates, had political reasons to avoid calling it terrorism. “What I believe now is that the president is so fixated on convincing the American people that we have defeated al-Qaeda and that al-Qaeda is no longer a real threat by saying this was a terrorist attack, or by acknowledge a terrorist attack,  it would be looked upon as a defeat for his policies against al-Qaeda,” King says.