Rep. Tom Cole, a Republican from Oklahoma, says that if lawmakers are going to go after U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice over her initial public assessment of the September attack in Benghazi then maybe Congress should also look at how President George W. Bush pushed bad intelligence about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Dan Senor, who worked to spin the Iraq war for the Bush administration as the chief spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), told a Sunday panel on ABC that Rice deserved to be scrutinized because she was “front and center” as the voice of the Obama administration after the Benghazi attack.
“I spoke with one senator who met with her this week,” Senor explained. “The consensus is — this individual conveyed — is the meetings did not go well. Benghazi was a serious issue. We can debate whether or not Susan Rice should be blamed for it.”
“There is a legitimate concern that she was used five days after the fact to propagate a story that we should have known at the time was not the case,” Cole agreed, adding that there were also “serious questions about our own intelligence people.”
“We saw President Bush out front defending something wasn’t true too,” the Oklahoma Republican recalled. “Maybe we should ask those guys some questions too.”
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) pointed out that 241 Marines were killed in Lebanon in 1982 under President Ronald Reagan and “we came together and said that this is a national tragedy and blame was not parceled out the way that it is now.”
Senor, however, insisted that there was “accountability” after the Marines were killed because Reagan appointed a fact-finding committee to investigate.
“Part of the problem here is in the lead up to the election when Benghazi got a lot of attention, the president said, ‘Don’t talk about Benghazi. If you do, you’re politicizing the issue,’” Senor opined. “So you weren’t allowed to — [former GOP nominee Mitt] Romney and others weren’t allowed to talk about it in the political context. Here we are after the election and there’s no full airing. We still don’t know exactly what happened.”
Watch this video from ABC’s This Week, broadcast Dec. 2, 2012.