Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki made confusing comments Monday about the roots of the attack by radical Muslims on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
When asked about comments made by Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), suggesting the possibility that the strike in Benghazi was premeditated and set to coincide with the eleventh anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, the Obama campaign spokeswoman took a defensive posture and charged the Armed Services Committee’s ranking member with trying to score a political point.
SOLEDAD O’BRIEN: As you know there are others who say, no, this was actually well coordinated among those, Senator John McCain. Let me play you what he said:
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: Most people don’t bring rocket-propelled grenades and heavy weapons to a demonstration. That was an act of terror and for anyone to disagree with that fundamental fact, I think is really ignoring the facts.
O’BRIEN: Does he not have a point? That if you’re bringing a rocket-propelled grenade –
JEN PSAKI: Well, I think what can’t be lost here is this is a political campaign season, as well. Senator McCain is a strong supporter of Mitt Romney’s. Mitt Romney came out when we knew, when the world knew, that there had been American deaths, he came out and attacked, criticized the president for empathizing with the attackers. You know, he’s been known to, as the president said last week, to shoot first and aim later.
After being challenged by the CNN anchor, Psaki went on to further suggest that the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, had access to different classified information that discounted the possibility of the attacks being premeditated.
O’BRIEN: All true, but—
PSAKI: But Soledad I don’t have access to the intelligence, either. Neither do you. I don’t know what Senator McCain has access to –
OBRIEN: But you can’t claim a question about whether or not it was premeditated is solely political, right? I mean that is outside of politics. That is a valid question. Was this people angry about a movie and then it sort of spiraled into an attack or was it actually a coordinated attack that leveraged the movie? That’s a relevant question outside of politics.
PSAKI: Ambassador Rice was very clear yesterday about what the U.S. government has found to be the cause here. You know, I refer you to what she said. She has access to the intelligence that you and I don’t have and most of the American people don’t have. So you know, I can’t speak to what Sen. McCain has seen or hasn’t seen, but I’ll point you to what Ambassador Rice said yesterday and of course this is the focus of what she and her team and the National Security Council at the White House are working on every single day now.
The perplexing messaging by the Obama campaign and administration is raising questions as to the ability of the Obama Administration to manage the ongoing crisis overseas and whether they are being forthright with the American public as U.S. diplomatic outposts continue to be the targets of violent Islamist rage throughout the Muslim world.