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HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations

Abstract

It's Washington at its worst — Republicans continue to question this week about what UN Ambassador Susan Rice knew and when she knew it on Benghazi. Partisan pundits who can’t possibly know the details of what happened that terrible day leap to the charge of conspiracy and cover-up. No one waits for the official investigation to conclude before trying to derail the nomination of an honest and talented public servant. Meanwhile, the real Middle East crises in Egypt and Syria barely register on the Capitol’s radar screen. Of course, Congress has a right and responsibility to ask tough questions about how terrorists were able to overwhelm security and kill four brave public servants at our consulate in Benghazi. It was one of the blackest days in the history of the US Foreign Service. In hindsight, the administration should have handled the public explanation of what happened more effectively. And, the terrorist threat continues against our diplomats in North Africa and throughout the Middle East. But the problem with the campaign against Rice is that it is indicting a person who had no line authority for the security of our diplomats that terrible day or the day after. She is, in effect, charged with having had the misfortune of being the administration spokesperson on the following Sunday’s talk shows.

Citation

Burns, R. Nicholas. "Refocus Beyond Benghazi." Boston Globe, December 6, 2012.