While Rice does not need Senate confirmation to assume her post, former State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, who has been tapped to head European affairs, will face tough questions on the administration’s Benghazi response, Paul said.
“I think it’s appalling and so I think neither one of them should be to their position.”
“I don’t have the possibility of stopping ambassador Rice,” Paul acknowledged. “Ms. Nuland we’re going to look at because she was [then-Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton’s spokesman, who says she had nothing to do with the talking points, even though her spokesman was rewriting them all night long to try to get out any references to terrorism.
“We still haven’t gotten to the bottom of why they had this elaborate misdirection campaign when everybody obviously thought it was a terrorist attack at the beginning,” he added.
Many Republicans have charged the administration with attempting to downplay the terrorist nature of the attack which killed four Americans ahead of the November election.
Rice initially blamed the violence on a spontaneous mob, later conceedign it was a planned attack. The White House, though, has defended her saying that her statements were based on then current intelligence.
But anger over Benghazi let her to withdraw her name for consideration to replace Clinton at State. Obama’s appointment of her to head his national security team was seen as a defiant move in the face of continued GOP criticism of Rice.
Asked if he would put a hold on Nuland’s nomination until his Benghazi questions were answered, Paul said he hadn’t made a decision.
“But we are going to look very carefully and I’m going to ask probing questions because I still want to know why we were misdirected,” he said.
“Why was Ms. Nuland involved and did she talk to Hillary Clinton that night? I would never have my press spokesman making statements for me throughout the night on an international crisis without talking to me.” said Paul.