An Apology Is Necessary

Posted on November 21, 2012

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Senator John McCain, who I’ve been critical of in the recent past, or the irascible douche, as Andrew Sullivan calls him, has finally been put in his place regarding his unfounded criticism of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice… Or has he?

The recent timeline runs as follows:

Last week, former CIA Director David Petraeus told lawmakers that the CIA’s assessment that Al-Qaeda was responsible for the Sept. 11 attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi was taken out of Rice’s talking points after an interagency review. McCain and his allies then claimed the White House took out the talking points because it supposedly undercut the Obama administration’s narrative that it had severely weakened al Qaeda.

On Monday, Shawn Turner, spokesperson for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), told CNN that the intelligence community – not the White House, State Department or Justice Department – was responsible for the substantive changes made to the talking points distributed for government officials who spoke publicly about the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

On Tuesday morning, McCain responded to the new information provided by the Office of the DNI by stating:

I am somewhat surprised and frustrated to read reports that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was responsible for removing references to Al-Qaeda from the unclassified talking points about the Benghazi attack that Ambassador Susan Rice and other officials used in the early days after September 11, 2012. I participated in hours of hearings in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last week regarding the events in Benghazi, where senior intelligence officials were asked this very question, and all of them – including the Director of National Intelligence himself – told us that they did not know who made the changes. Now we have to read the answers to our questions in the media. There are many other questions that remain unanswered. But this latest episode is another reason why many of us are so frustrated with, and suspicious of, the actions of this Administration when it comes to the Benghazi attack.

While tacitly conceding he was wrong about the White House changing the talking points Ambassador Rice used shortly after the Benghazi attack, Sen. McCain failed to offer an apology to Ambassador Rice. McCain’s character assassination of Susan Rice has been disgusting and persistent.

Also, McCain stoked the RWNJ conspiracy embers by saying he was “frustrated” and “suspicious of, the actions of this Administration.” So, despite the tacit concession, McCain is still playing his RWNJ card.

Some background… (courtesy of ThinkProgress)

McCain, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Republicans, has lead a proverbial witch hunt against the Obama administration and Rice, claiming that the administration deliberately misled the public about the nature of the attacks. Yesterday’s news comes just a week after McCain went on national television and claimed that Rice’s “talking points came from the White House, not from the DNI.” He added on Fox that “I think it’s patently obvious that the talking points that Ambassador Rice had didn’t come from the CIA. It came from the White House.” For weeks, McCain has lambasted the administration for engaging in “either a cover-up or the worst kind of incompetence” on the Benghazi attack. McCain also said last week that “[e]verybody knew that it was an al Qaeda attack and she continued to tell the world through all of the talk shows [on Sept. 16] that it was a ‘spontaneous demonstration’ sparked by a video.”

McCain has also said he would block the nomination of Rice for Secretary of State, should the President choose her, saying he would “do everything in my power to block her,” that Rice is “not qualified” for the position and that “she should have known better.” He subsequently said he would block any nominee Obama put forward.

But now that every angle of McCain’s attacks have been completely debunked, all he has left is to complain about not being told that intelligence officials didn’t give him this information sooner.

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Posted in: Benghazi, Politics