Susan Rice Doesn’t Regret Benghazi Interviews


National Security Adviser Susan Rice doesn’t regret appearing on Sunday news programs after the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, even though the subsequent Republican-fueled outcry over what she said that day is believed to have scuttled her chances at being secretary of state.

“I don’t have time to think about a false controversy,” Rice said in an interview that aired Sunday on “60 Minutes.” “In the midst of all of the swirl about things like talking points, the administration’s been working very, very hard across the globe to review our security of our embassies and our facilities. That’s what we ought to be focused on.”

Republicans turned Rice, then the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, into a scapegoat for the Obama administration’s response to the Benghazi attack after it was later revealed that her talking points on the Sunday shows, which were prepared by the CIA, were incorrect. Rice withdrew from consideration for the secretary of state position amid the criticism.

Asked by “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl why then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t do the interviews, Rice said she had gone through an “an incredibly painful and stressful week” that involved contacting the families of the four Americans who were killed in the attacks and greeting the bodies upon their arrival to the United States. 

“So when the White House asked me, I agreed to do it,” Rice said.

“Do you ever think ‘Gee, I wish I hadn’t done that?” Stahl asked. “If you hadn’t done that, I’d be calling you Madam Secretary.” 

“Well, you can call me Susan,” Rice responded.

This post has been updated.


Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at