Susan Rice: No regrets about Benghazi remarks

Dylan Stableford
Yahoo News

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Susan Rice on Meet The Press, Feb. 23, 2013. (NBC)

U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice said on Sunday she has no regrets about initially characterizing the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi, Libya, as a "spontaneous response" to an anti-Islam video.

“What I said to you that morning, and what I did every day since, was to share the best information that we had at the time,” Rice told NBC's David Gregory in her first appearance on "Meet the Press" since making her initial remarks about the attack on the show. “The information I provided, which I explained to you, was what we had at the moment. It could change. I commented that this was based on what we knew on that morning, was provided to me and my colleagues and indeed to Congress by the intelligence community, and that’s been well validated in many different ways since."

Rice and other administration officials later came under fire after the attack was determined to be an act of terror.

"That information turned out in some respects not to be 100 percent correct," Rice continued. "But the notion that somehow I or anybody else in the administration is patently false, and that’s been amply demonstrated.”

Rice also weighed in on the ever-shifting states of play in the Ukraine, Russia and Syria.

On the unrest in the Ukraine, Rice said President Viktor Yanukovych, whose whereabouts are unclear, is clearly "not leading."

"He has gone," Rice said. "Yanukovych has lost enormous legitimacy, despite having been originally democratically elected. By turning on his people, by using violence in the streets against peaceful protestors, and by flouting the will of the Ukrainian people.

"He left Kiev, packed up, and in an orderly fashion, took his stuff, his furniture, with him," she continued. "This was not fleeing in a very disorderly fashion. So now he is in a place where it will reveal itself. Yesterday we know where he was, today, we're not so sure. But the fact is he's not leading at the present."

If Russian President Vladamir Putin decides to send forces into the Ukraine to restore the kind of government that Russia would like to see, Rice said it would be "a grave mistake."

"It's not in the interests of Ukrainian or of Russia or of Europe or the United States to see the country split," she said. "It's in nobody's interest to see violence returned and the situation escalate."

Rice also said Obama has been "very plain and very forceful in his dealings with Putin. But it's not necessary, nor is it in our interests, to return to a Cold War construct, which is long out of date, and that doesn't reflect the realities of the 21st century."

Related video: Rice addresses the conflict in Syria last fall

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