Susan E. Rice the National Security adviser on Sunday warned Russia not to interfere with Ukraine’s domestic turmoil all the while defending her comments on the Benghazi attack in Libya. Rice mentioned that it was Ukraine’s right as a democratic country to choose who it wants in the parliament.
Rice stated that sending in Russian troops would be a huge mistake on Russia’s part as that would interfere with Ukraine’s right to decide its own future. The turmoil began a year ago when Viktor Yanukovych was elected president of Ukraine to which the citizens were less than pleased. Further fueling public outrage was Yanukovych’s decision to ally his government with Russia in a trade and political partnership instead of the European Union.
According to her both President Barack Obama and President Vladimir Putin believe that it is in Ukraine’s interest to let them remain unified and independent. When asked about the current president in Ukraine she said that he was probably long gone. Ukraine’s parliament ordered President Yanukovych to step down but he insisted to stay in power. His current whereabouts are unknown as of Friday but Rice feels that he has possibly already left the capital.
Rice not only took the opportunity to warm Russia about mobilizing their military but also defended a comment she made regarding the 2012 attack on a US compound in Benghazi. The attack killed four Americans which included a US ambassador and 3 other personnel. The attack occurred right after a controversial anti-Muslim video was uploaded on the internet. For this reason Rice, then US ambassador to the United Nations, commented that the attack was a spontaneous reaction to the video.
Her very comment became the topic of many debates as people questioned its authenticity. Further investigation revealed that the attack was not spontaneous but instead coordinated and planned. Evidence was obtained that suggested that the attack was a result of a concentrated terrorist ploy. Many even considered her comment to be intentionally misleading in order to divert everyone’s attention from the truth.
Rice however stated that what she said was accurate at that time. She added that information such as this always keeps on changing and that it is impossible to always accurately predict what could have happened. Information she received was indeed acquired from the intelligence community and was true at the time the comment was made. She went on to state that her comment was not intentionally wrong. Rice dismissed the notion of her or anyone else in the administration purposely wanting to mislead the public by pointing that ample examples were present to prove otherwise.
Senator John McCain who remains one of the most persistent critics of the administration called Rice’s comments to be false. He added that a CIA station chief on the ground immediately sent a message which read that the attack was not a spontaneous riot. For Rice to still make the comment despite the evidence available was, according to McCain, misleading. Rice despite the criticism feels that her comments were justified and correct given the limited information at the time. Rice used her first television appearance since the 2012 comment to not only warn Russia of using military might but to also justify and defend her comments.
By Hammad Ali