Susan Rice, President Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor, said on Sunday she has no regrets about characterizing the September 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi, Libya, as a "spontaneous response" to an anti-Islam video.
“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,” Rice told NBC's “Meet the Press”.
“The information I provided, which I explained to you, was what we had at the moment. It could change. 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," she added.
On September 16, 2012, five days after the Benghazi attack which killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans, Rice, then the American ambassador to the United Nations, gave several media interviews and responded to the attack.
She said the attack was a “spontaneous reaction” to the “Innocence of Muslims” film, which depicted the Muslim prophet Mohammad as a buffoon and pedophile, sparking a wave of angry anti-American protests across the Middle East in which more than 30 people were killed.
Republicans pounced on Rice after her remarks, which were later proven wrong when it was revealed that Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists were behind the attack. Rice had been Obama’s leading candidate to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, but she withdrew from the race over the criticism of her Benghazi remarks.
"That information turned out in some respects not to be 100 percent correct," Rice said on Sunday, “but the notion that somehow I or anybody else in the administration is patently false, and that’s been amply demonstrated.”
The Justice Department has filed sealed criminal charges against a number of suspects in the Benghazi attack.
One of those charged is Ahmed Abu Khattalah, founder of the Libyan based Ansar al-Sharia extremist group who was seen at the compound when it was overrun but denied involvement in the attack.
American officials have also identified a former inmate of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp as a possible key organizer of the Benghazi attack.
U.S. military leaders have defended their response to the 2012 assault on the consulate in Benghazi.