For the first time since her infamous 2012 interview, National Security Advisor Susan Rice appeared on Meet the Press on Sunday February 23 to discuss a variety of foreign policy issues, most noticeably Benghazi.
Throughout the interview, which focused primarily on the recent violent protests in Ukraine, host David Gregory provided Rice with a variety of softball questions on Benghazi, and allowed her to push White House talking points without any significant pushback.
During the exchange on Benghazi, the word terrorism was not mentioned once, and Gregory seemed more concerned with allowing Rice to fix her disastrous appearance in 2012 than to hold her or the Obama Administration accountable for the terrorist attack in Benghazi. Gregory began by asking Ms. Rice, “As you look back at your involvement in all of that, do you have any regrets?”
Gregory then allowed Ms. Rice to spew White House talking points:
What I said to you that morning and what I did every day since was to share the best information that we had at the time. The information I provided, which I explained to you was what we had at the moment. It could change.
Instead of challenging Ms. Rice’s assertions, Gregory claimed that the whole issue surrounding Benghazi was merely a political controversy before lamenting that maybe “it cost you the Secretary of State job?” There was no mention of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s handling of the attack, and rather than play any clips of the numerous Republicans who have questioned the White House story on Benghazi, Gregory instead promoted President Obama's talking points during the 2012 election when he said that:
We are going to find out who did this and we are going to hunt them down because one of the things that I've said throughout my presidency is when folks mess with Americans, we go after them.
Given that Gregory was granted an “exclusive” interview with Ms. Rice, it would have been nice if the NBC News host actually pressured the Obama official on the administration’s mishandling of the terrorist attack, let alone use the word terrorism when talking to Ms. Rice. Unfortunately, Gregory continued the liberal line that Benghazi is merely a politically “intense” story and happily gave Ms. Clinton and President Obama a pass rather than looking for any actual answers on what happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
See relevant transcript below.
Meet the Press
February 23, 2014
10:45 a.m. Eastern
DAVID GREGORY: When you were last here, Ambassador Rice, it was an eventful morning on a story of Benghazi and the horrible attack on our compound there. We haven't seen you in awhile. As you look back at your involvement in all of that, do you have any regrets?
SUSAN RICE: David, no. Because what I said to you that morning and what I did every day since was to share the best information that we had at the time. The information I provided, which I explained to you was what we had at the moment. It could change. I commented that this was based on what we knew on that morning was provided to me and my colleagues and indeed to Congress by the intelligence community and that's been well validated in many different ways since. And than information turned out in some respects not to be 100% correct. But the notion that somehow I or anybody else in the administration misled the American people is patently false, and I think that that's been aptly demonstrated.
GREGORY: The politics of this are still intense. Do you believe it cost you the Secretary of State job?
RICE: David, I don't know. What I do know is that I have a great job. It's the greatest honor in the world to work for the President of the United States and on behalf of the American people. And I couldn't ask for anything more.
GREGORY: We know as was said at that time and has been found later that security at the compound was a gaping deficiency. But it's also an issue of finding the people responsible for this attack. The president spoke forcefully about that during the presidential debates. This is what he said in October of 2012.
BARACK OBAMA: We are going to find out who did this and we are going to hunt them down because one of the things that I've said throughout my presidency is when folks mess with Americans, we go after them.
GREGORY: 17 months later, are we any closer to finding who was responsible.
RICE: Yes, I think you’ve heard the attorney general speak to this. The investigation is ongoing and has indeed has made progress. But the point is we will get the perpetrators. And we will stay on it until this gets done. And if you need any proof of that, recall the capture operation that occurred not long ago in Libya against somebody who attacked the United States many years ago in Africa. The United States stays on the case. This president, our President Obama, has said that we do what will it takes to bring the perpetrators to justice. And indeed, we will.