Warner: Benghazi controversy misdirected

Dec. 2, 2012 at 1:52 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said criticism of administration talking points is taking focus away from "what happened" in an attack on a U.S. mission in Libya.

In an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, Warner said he is surprised people are spending so much time debating U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's merits as a possible Secretary of State, because she hasn't been nominated for the position.

Rice has come under attack by U.S. conservatives -- including congressional Republicans, who wrote to President Barack Obama in November asking him not to nominate her to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In the letter, the Republicans said Rice's credibility was gravely harmed by her account of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. They said she "propagated a falsehood" that the attack was a spontaneous response to a U.S.-produced video that denigrated the Prophet Mohammed.

The administration said more than a week later terrorism may have played a role.

"Now, that's amazing to me that we should be focusing on not so much what was said about which talking points, but how did the tragedy where four Americans were killed in Benghazi happen?" Warner said. "How do we make sure if they come under assault that we have got assets to be able to come in and protect them.

"What I find remarkable is the president hasn't even nominated anyone yet," he said. "What we ought to be looking at is what happened in Benghazi, how do we make sure it never happens again?"

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