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Initial assessment on Benghazi attack incorrect: Rice

November 28, 2012 15:40 IST

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice conceded before Republican senators that the initial assessment she gave of the attack on American consulate facilities in Benghazi was "incorrect" but said she had never intended to mislead the nation.

Rice, who has been facing Republican backlash over her initial account of the Libya attack, and Acting CIA Director Michael Morell met in Washington on Tuesday with Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte, who have said they will oppose any bid by President Barack Obama to make her Secretary of state.

"In the course of the meeting, we explained that the talking points provided by the intelligence community, and the initial assessment upon which they were based, were incorrect in a key respect: there was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi.

"While we certainly wish that we had had perfect information just days after the terrorist attack, as is often the case, the intelligence assessment has evolved," a statement issued by the US mission to the UN here quoted Rice as saying.

Days after the American embassy in Benghazi was targeted, 48-year-old Rice had appeared on several TV news shows and said the September 11 attack was a spontaneous assault on US premises in the wake of the protests over an anti-Muslim film.

US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American consular staff were killed in the attack.

The US had later termed it as a terrorist attack.

The Republican senators have accused Rice of misleading the nation by giving an inaccurate assessment of the cause of the attack even as President Obama strongly defended his UN ambassador over the way she handled the response to the Benghazi attack.

Rice said that neither she nor the Obama administration "intended to mislead" the American people at any stage in this process, and the Administration updated Congress and the American people as the assessments evolved.

She said the Obama administration remains committed to working closely with Congress as it thoroughly investigates the terrorist attack in Benghazi and brings to justice those responsible for the tragic deaths of Stevens and other consular staff.

Yoshita Singh in New York
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