Shorter Question Everything
The short of it is: If Susan Rice can be suitably tarnished, then Sen. Kerry may be tagged for Sect of State, freeing up a seat that could then possibly be won for Scott Brown.
It seems crazy and probably is but it makes more sense than the crazy crap coming out of McCain and those he’s roped into his hatchet job against Susan Rice. What has he really got against Rice? That she DIDN’T leak classified information on a Sunday show? Unlike Issa, who leaked sensitive information about a CIA outfit in the Benghazi compound, putting assets in danger. I guess that’s perfectly okey-dokey. But choose to stay on the talking points crafted by intelligence in order to NOT tell the enemy what you know, and that makes you a menace? I think we all know what the reaction would be if Rice had gotten out there and just blurted out classified information. She’s get roasted, and it would be right that she got roasted. Can’t have it both ways. The right has been on the WRONG side of this from minute one.
At least craven political opportunism makes sense.
• Republicans Will Pay a Heavy Price for Their Groundless Attack on Susan Rice. John McCain and the GOP brigade appear determined to sink Obama’s likely nominee for Secretary of State, but it’s going to backfire.
• Susan Rice’s would-be path to the U.S. State Department hit another snag on Wednesday following revelations that she owns significant stock in Calgary-based TransCanada, the energy giant hoping to win approval from the Obama administration to build its Keystone XL pipeline. The State Department is in charge of making a final decision on the $7 billion pipeline since it crosses an international border. If Rice, the current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is tapped to be Hillary Clinton’s replacement as secretary of state — and subsequently survives the nomination process in the U.S. Senate — she’d be in a potential conflict-of-interest situation.
• Smear campaign against Rice broadens, intensifies. Rice paid [Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)] a courtesy visit this morning, and the Maine Republican later told reporters that Rice served as assistant secretary of state for African affairs when al Qaeda attacked American embassies in Kenya and Somalia: “What troubles me so much is the Benghazi attack in many ways echoes the attacks on those embassies in 1998, when Susan Rice was head of the African region for our State Department.” This is pretty twisted — to suggest the assistant secretary of state for African affairs is responsible for security decisions at every U.S. diplomatic outpost in an enormous continent is absurd, even by the standards of congressional Republicans — but as the smear campaign against Rice unfolds, it’s also quickly becoming the norm.
• McCain descends further into incoherence. At this point, when it comes to the political controversy surrounding the Benghazi attack, I no longer know what Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is complaining about. He’s raised questions, which have been answered. He’s raised theories, which have been debunked. He’s smeared Susan Rice, but he knows her only crime is sharing credible intelligence on a Sunday show. And yesterday, the Republican senator’s descent into incoherence reached new depths. We already know who changed the talking points. And we know why and under what circumstances. And we know why al Qaeda references were removed. And we know Rice didn’t deliberately deceive anyone. But comparing this to the raid on bin Laden’s compound is a special kind of dumb. I realize national security and foreign policy are issues McCain struggles with, but this isn’t complicated: the bin Laden raid was our idea. It was our mission. We planned it and we executed it. We knew the details “within hours” because, unlike the terrorists’ attack on Benghazi, the raid in Abbottabad was carried out by our guys, not their guys.
• A Republican senator on Wednesday praised U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice during an interview on CNN, saying Rice is a “very smart, very intelligent woman” and that she shouldn’t be held responsible for the misleading information she presented on the Benghazi terror attacks during her Sept. 16 Sunday show appearances. Republicans led by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) had led an all out assault on Rice over the past several weeks, suggesting that she deliberately misled the American people when she said the attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans was sparked by a demonstration against an anti-Islam video (Rice said yesterday that there was no demonstration). Because of the dust-up, McCain called Rice “not very bright” and a group of House Republicans called her “incompetent.” But Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) doesn’t believe that to be the case. While Isakson told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien this morning that the administration needs to answer questions about what happened in Benghazi, he added, referring to Rice, “what you don’t want to do is shoot the messenger.” Rice “is a very smart, very intelligent woman. I know this Ms. Rice, I think she’s done a good job as Ambassador to the U.N.,” Isakson said
• Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on Tuesday blasted three key Republicans who are attacking U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice over the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi incident. “The personal attacks against Ambassador Rice by certain Republican senators have been outrageous and utterly unmoored from facts and reality. I am shocked that senators would continue these attacks even when the evidence – including disclosures from the intelligence community about the information she presented – have made it clear that the allegations against Ambassador Rice are baseless, and that she has done absolutely nothing wrong.”
In other news
• CIA faces lawsuit over death of bioweapons expert amid ‘LSD experiment’. The family of a US government scientist who fell to his death from a New York hotel window six decades ago have launched a lawsuit for damages against the CIA, alleging the agency was involved in his murder and a subsequent cover-up. In one of the most notorious cases in the organisation’s history, bioweapons expert Frank Olson died in 1953, nine days after he was given LSD by agency officials without his knowledge. In the lawsuit, filed in the US district court in Washington on Wednesday, Olson’s sons Eric and Nils claim their father was murdered after he discovered that his biological research was being used to torture and kill suspects in Europe.
• The Obama administration, hoping that the conflict in Syria has reached a turning point, is considering deeper intervention to help push President Bashar al-Assad from power, according to government officials involved in the discussions. While no decisions have been made, the administration is considering several alternatives, including directly providing arms to some opposition fighters. The most urgent decision, likely to come next week, is whether NATO should deploy surface-to-air missiles in Turkey, ostensibly to protect that country from Syrian missiles that could carry chemical weapons.
• In its first major effort to show that it can be a viable political force, the newly formed Syrian opposition coalition started talks in Egypt on Wednesday aimed at forming an alternative to the government of President Bashar al-Assad and paving the way for more international acceptance and aid. The coalition, whose official name is the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, was formed at a meeting in Qatar this month and has been recognized by Britain, France, Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council. To win further support from foreign capitals, it must tackle the broader problems of uniting the many opposition groups in exile and the rebels on the ground in Syria.
• Israel pulls back from threat to topple Palestinian leadership over UN vote. Israeli officials change tack after it becomes clear that request for statehood at UN is likely to gather significant support. Israeli officials are now playing down any immediate sanctions against the Palestinians after it became clear that the request for statehood is likely to gather significant support, which has strengthened since the Israeli assault on Gaza. Several European countries, including France, Switzerland and Spain, will back the Palestinian move, in part out of concern that failing to do so will weaken the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to the advantage of Hamas.
• A U.N. war crimes tribunal on Thursday acquitted Kosovo’s former prime minister for the second time of murdering and torturing Serbs and their supporters in Kosovo’s war for independence, setting the stage for his return to political life in the deeply divided nation. The verdict was issued in the U.N. court’s first ever retrial, which was ordered after appeals judges branded the 2008 acquittals of former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj and KLA fighters Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj a “miscarriage of justice” because of widespread intimidation of prosecution witnesses. Brahimaj was convicted of torture at the first trial and that was not retried, but he has served his sentence and will be released with the others.