Democratic Sen. Carl Levin (MI) on Sunday defended UN Ambassador Susan Rice from her Republican critics.
Shortly after the deadly attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya, Rice said the siege was part of a spontaneous protest against an anti-Islam film produced in the United States. It later was revealed the attack was conducted by militants linked to al Qaeda, and no protest occurred. Republicans like House Intelligence Committee member Peter King (NY) have alleged that Rice either willingly misled the American people or was incompetent.
"It's one of the most unfair attacks I've ever seen in Washington in 34 years," Levin said on ABC's This Week. "Susan Rice was using the unclassified talking points, which were provided by the intelligence community."
At a congressional hearing on Friday, former CIA director David Petraeus said Rice received an intelligence memo that described the attack in Benghazi as something that evolved from a "spontaneously inspired" protest.
But King insisted Rice was still in the wrong for failing to seek out a classified briefing.
"The issue is whether or not Susan Rice should be pilloried for using a intelligence report which David Petraeus signed off on, which the DNI, the director of national intelligence, Mr. Clapper, signed off on," Levin said. "Were they part of a cover-up? Did they do something wrong?"
"Those talking points were signed off on by Petraeus and by Clapper," the senator later added. "Does she not have a right to rely on them?"