State Department responds to Fox report on Benghazi testimony

James Rosen

See email below sent from my FNC colleague James Rosen…from a senior State Department official (in response to this Fox News article):

The Libyan Government granted visas to the FBI team as soon as their paperwork was received from the United States. The day of Ambassador Rice’s appearance on the Sunday shows (September 16), the Libyan government granted the FBI the necessary visas so that the team could travel to Libya. Their flight clearance was granted the following day, on September 17th, and the FBI arrived in Tripoli on September 18. The team could not travel to Benghazi for some time due to the security situation on the ground.

One week after Ambassador Rice’s television appearances, and over one week before the FBI was finally able to travel to Benghazi, the Libyan President publicly expressed his readiness to cooperate with the FBI investigation.  In a joint press appearance with Secretary Clinton on September 24, Libyan President Magarief stated, “Let us look at the necessity to expedite the investigation in the incident and to pursue – to bring to justice those perpetrators. Of course, we are – we express our great readiness to cooperate with the U.S. Government in order to cooperate in the investigation and bring those perpetrators to justice.”

It would have been irresponsible for Ambassador Rice to have endorsed on the spot the assessment provided by the Libyan President, knowing that it was inconsistent with our own intelligence community’s current best assessment that there was not any evidence of months-long pre-planning or pre-meditation, which remains their assessment.

When asked on Face the Nation whether al Qaeda had a role in the attack she said “…it’s clear that there were extremist elements that joined and escalated the violence; whether they were al Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based extremists or al Qaeda itself, I think, is one of the things we’ll have to determine.” That was consistent with the intelligence at the time.

Ambassador Rice is held in high regard by Libyan citizens given her instrumental role in passing the UN Security Council Resolution that authorized the intervention that led to the fall of the Qadhafi regime.