Rice Remains in Question: Collins ‘Very Troubled’ After Meeting

Photograph by Win McNamee/Getty Images

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, leaves the Capitol after meeting with members of the senate on Nov. 28, 2012 in Washington.

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was still on Capitol Hill today, still explaining her statements about the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack, and still not allaying Republican lawmakers’ doubts.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said she was “very troubled” after an hour-long meeting with Rice this morning.

“I still have many questions,” Collins told reporters, echoing statements made by Senators John McCain, Kelly Ayotte and Lindsey Graham after they met with Rice Tuesday, as Bloomberg reported. Republicans have said Rice misled Americans when, on Sept. 16 television talk shows, she falsely said the Benghazi attack resulted from a “spontaneous” demonstration against an anti-Islam video that militants then “hijacked.”

Collins, the top Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said she was particularly concerned that history had seemed to repeat itself in the Benghazi attack.

“We seem not to have learned from the 1998 bombings of two of our embassies in Africa at the time when Ambassador Rice was the assistant secretary for African affairs,” Collins said. “What troubles me so much is the Benghazi attack in many ways echoes those attacks.”

Both the 1998 and 2012 attacks came without warning and after additional security had been requested in the areas, Collins said.

Despite her criticism, Collins did not rule out Rice as a possible candidate to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when asked by reporters.

“I would need to have additional information before I could support her nomination,” said Collins, who is considered less partisan and polarizing than McCain, Graham and Ayotte.

When pressed on the topic, Collins clarified her opinion on the coming appointment.

“I think John Kerry would be an excellent appointment and would be easily confirmed by his colleagues,” she said.

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