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May 29, 2017

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Obama official has no regrets for comments made about Benghazi

WASHINGTON--National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Sunday she had no regrets about remarks she made about an attack in Benghazi, Libya that left a U.S. ambassador dead and sparked a political firestorm.

Four American citizens, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in the double raid targeting the U.S. mission and nearby CIA annex on Sept. 11, 2012.

Rice was widely accused of deliberately misleading the public after she said only days later that, according to intelligence at the time, it had started with a spontaneous protest against a privately made anti-Islam film posted online.

Some Republican lawmakers accuse U.S. President Barack Obama of concealing evidence that al-Qaida-linked jihadist groups were behind the attack and of failing to properly protect the outpost.

Rice — who was the U.S. envoy to the United Nations at the time — subsequently pulled out of consideration to be Obama's second-term secretary of state.

Asked in an exclusive interview Sunday with NBC's "Meet the Press" whether she had any regrets about her comments, made on the same program in September 2012, Rice said:

"No, because what I said to you that morning and what I did every day since was to share the best information that we had at the time."

She added: "I commented that this was based on what we knew on that morning — was provided to me and my colleagues, and indeed, to Congress by the intelligence community, and that's been well-validated in many different ways since."

"And that information turned out, in some respects, not to be 100 percent correct. But the notion that somehow I or anybody else in the administration misled the American people is patently false, and I think that that's been amply demonstrated."

Rice's comments were immediately dismissed by John McCain, an influential Republican senator.

"We now know that the director, that the CIA station chief on the ground, sent a message immediately saying, "Not, not spontaneous demonstration," McCain told CBS's "Face the Nation" program.

"And of course, the information was totally misleading, totally false and for Susan Rice to say such a thing, I think it's a little embarrassing, to tell you the truth."

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