Following on their meeting with U.N. Ambassador Rice, Senators Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Kelly Ayotte issued a joint a statement questioning Rice's answers and lack of answers; as well as pointing out that President Obama, himself, had serious questions to answer concerning various statements made in the aftermath of the Benghazi attacks resulting in the deaths of four Americans.
Also, during the same meeting, Acting CIA Director Morell gave incorrect information as to the source of changes made to the talking points provided to Ambassador Rice --- that information was then changed in a post-meeting statement by the CIA
Senator John McCain came out of the talks with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice unsure why she had been chosen to go on television to speak about the Benghazi fiasco, and questioning “whether Ambassador Rice was prepared or informed sufficiently in order to give the American people a correct depiction of the events that took place.”
Senator Kelly Ayotte said that “Right now, where I’m at is, there are still so many questions that need to be answered related to the attacks on the consulate in Benghazi, including, I think there will still be follow-ups to Ambassador Rice.... So I will hold her nomination until I have additional answers to questions and then I will render judgment.” (So far, it is expected that Susan Rice will be put up for Secretary of State by President Obama, but the present Secretary remains Hillary Clinton)
After the meeting, U.N. ambassador Susan Rice said in a statement that neither "I nor anyone else in the Administration intended to mislead the American people" regarding Benghazi, however she admitted that the statements that she made on television were "incorrect in a key respect."
Her full statement reads as follows:
"Today, Acting CIA Director Michael Morell and I met with Senators McCain, Graham, and Ayotte to discuss my September 16th public comments regarding the attack against the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, and the intelligence assessments that formed the basis for those comments. I appreciated the opportunity to discuss these issues directly and constructively with them. *** In the course of the meeting, we explained that the talking points provided by the intelligence community, and the initial assessment upon which they were based, were incorrect in a key respect: there was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi. While we certainly wish that we had had perfect information just days after the terrorist attack, as is often the case, the intelligence assessment has evolved. We stressed that neither I nor anyone else in the Administration intended to mislead the American people at any stage in this process, and the Administration updated Congress and the American people as our assessments evolved. *** The Administration remains committed to working closely with Congress as we thoroughly investigate the terrorist attack in Benghazi and bring to justice the terrorists responsible for the tragic deaths of our colleagues, Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. We also look forward to the findings of the Accountability Review Board and the FBI investigation."
On another point presented to the Republican Senators yesterday, Sens. McCain and Ayotte issued a statement late Tuesday saying that Acting Director of the CIA Michael Morell had earlier told lawmakers in the closed session that the Federal Bureau of Investigation removed references to al Qaeda in talking points prepared by the CIA. According to the Senators, the CIA later corrected Mr. Morell's statement and said that the CIA, not FBI, had removed the references. The Senators again expressed their consternation, "We are disturbed by the administration's continued inability to answer even the most basic questions."