William Katz:  Urgent Agenda






SHE HAS MET THE ENEMY AND IT IS SHE – AT 12:38 P.M. ET:  The much anticipated personal meeting between Ambassador to the U.N. (and potential secretary of state) Susan Rice and her Republican critics in the Senate has taken place.  It was designed to clear the air, to give Rice a chance to explain her misleading statements on national television after the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya. 

Uh, it apparently didn't go well.  From USA Today: 

WASHINGTON--After meeting with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on Tuesday, three GOP lawmakers said their concerns have only grown about misleading statements Rice made concerning the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that left Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead.

Rice's meeting with Sens. John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Kelly Ayotte on Capitol Hill came as the White House signaled it may nominate Rice to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of State.

McCain, R-Ariz., has said he may oppose her nomination because she should have known her statements on the Sept. 11 attack were false.

Rice said in a round of interviews days after the deadly incident that the attack may have emerged from a protest outside the consulate in response to an anti-Islam video produced in the USA. It was later learned there was no protest, and the attack was a well-organized terror plot likely timed for the anniversary of 9/11.

"The information she gave the American people was incorrect when she said that it was a spontaneous demonstration triggered by a hateful video," McCain told reporters after the meeting with Rice.

"The bottom line is that I'm more disturbed than I was before ... about how four Americans died in Benghazi, Libya," Graham said.


Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA operations officer and now an analyst at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, says Rice's performance after the Benghazi attack raises a red flag.

"These officials are supposed to assess these things for themselves," Gerecht said. "If you see a situation where a consulate safe house is being attacked by mortars and organized teams, that should tell you this was planned before that video came out."

Rice knew the narrative that would satisfy the White House, Gerecht said. Included in that narrative is that al-Qaeda is losing ground, public sentiments toward the United States are improving in the Middle East, and the attack was not connected to U.S. foreign policy. But she still would have had access numerous news reports that contradicted that narrative, he said.

"If you want to take the president's approach, then Susan Rice is shockingly guilty of being dumb," Gerecht said.

COMMENT:  Bottom line, Rice is a company woman who was sent out there to say what the company wanted her to say.  Also, her record at the UN hasn't won much applause.  But Obama, not known for his modesty or judgment, may feel he now has to nominate her just to show that he can face down a challenge. 

If nominated, Rice will probably be confirmed.  Democrats control the Senate, where a simple majority is needed for confirmation.  Some moderate Dems might vote against her, but some Republicans might vote for her.  Republicans will have to decide whether this is where they want to have a fight with Rice.

Hillary Clinton can't be very happy with the possibility that Rice might succeed her.  Rice abandoned the Clinton to support Obama in 2008.  Folks remember those things.

November 27, 2012