GOP senator: Rice went beyond Benghazi talking points

J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice went beyond the talking points she was given on the terrorist attack in Libya when she appeared on Sunday talk shows shortly after the Sept. 11 attack.

Ayotte, along with five other senators, met with Rice on the Hill this week to discuss her reaction to the attack, which left four Americans dead. Ayotte said she was “very troubled” by what she heard, noting specifically that Rice had read the classified intelligence briefings saying that al-Qaida was behind the attack and did not mention that in her television appearances.

Ayotte also said that Rice relayed information on television that was not in the briefings, including inaccurate claims about the consulate's security and al-Qaida's strength in the region.

“She had reviewed it before going on Sunday shows, and went on the Sunday shows and went beyond the talking points,” Ayotte said on CNN’s State of the Union. “Frankly, not supported by the record.”

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who also spoke on CNN, said there has been too much focus on Rice's Sunday show appearances and not enough on the attack itself.

“That’s amazing to me that we should be focusing on not so much what was said about which talking points, but how the tragedy where four Americans were killed in Benghazi happened,” he said.

Ayotte said her focus on Rice’s talking points is designed to address possible intelligence failures. “We've had three stories on the talking points, so that's important just for making sure that our intelligence is solid going forward,” she said.
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