By BYRON TAU
Under fire from congressional critics, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice stressed in a Tuesday statement that she did not intend to mislead the public about the September 11th attacks on the Benghazi consulate.
"Neither I nor anyone else in the administration intended to mislead the American people at any stage in this process, and the administration updated Congress and the American people as our assessments evolved," Rice said.
Rice has emerged as a high-profile administration for congressional critics who claim that the Obama administration tried to cover up a terrorist link to the attacks.
Rice and acting CIA director Michael Morell met Tuesday with Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) to discuss her public statements in the aftermath of the assault that killed four U.S. State Department personnel in September.
Rice did a round of Sunday shows the weekend after the attack, and claimed that it had been sparked by an anti-Muslim video. The intelligence community later retracted her statements and the talking points she was given.
"In the course of the meeting, we explained that the talking points provided by the intelligence community, and the initial assessment upon which they were based, were incorrect in a key respect: there was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi," Rice said.
"While, we certainly wish that we had had perfect information just days after the terrorist attack, as is often the case, the intelligence assessment has evolved," she said.
Rice — who is considered a top candidate to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton atop the State Department — did not satisfy any of the senators with her answers.
"We are significantly troubled by many of the answers that we got and some that we didn't get," McCain told reporters after the meeting.
Rice insisted the Obama administration has been cooperative all along with congressional investigators.
"The administration remains committed to working closely with Congress as we thoroughly investigate the terrorist attack in Benghazi and bring to justice the terrorists responsible for the tragic deaths," she said.