State Department disowns Susan Rice's Libya narrative

Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. speaks on "Face the Nation" in Washington, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. speaks on "Face the Nation" in Washington, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. Chris Usher, CBS News/AP

In an unusual display of disunity, State Department officials have disowned remarks by one of their top officials, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, regarding her explanation of the deadly terrorist assault on U.S. diplomats in Libya in September. Not only did they say Rice's characterization of those attacks as "spontaneous" was wrong, but also, they said that assessment was never the conclusion of the State Department at any point in time.

In a conference call to reporters on Tuesday, senior State Department officials said they couldn't explain why Rice went on a Sunday talk show blitz last month describing the Benghazi attacks as a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islam film in the U.S. "That was not our conclusion," the officials said. "That is the question you'd have to ask others."

In the Rice version of events, the attacks that led to the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans began as an anti-film demonstration and devolved into a deadly assault. But State Department officials say there was no anti-film demonstration. "Everything is calm at 8:30 p.m., there is nothing unusual. There had been nothing unusual during the day outside," officials told reporters Tuesday."Then at 9:40 they saw on the security cameras that there were armed men invading the compound."

Read more at The Atlantic Wire.

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