Rep. Peter King: Susan Rice had obligation to not ‘be a puppet' on Benghazi

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Sunday he did not accept U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's defense of her response to the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. 

During an appearance on "Meet the Press," King said that although he felt Rice had been an effective U.N. Ambassador in other regards, she was "wrong" on this issue.

"If she is sent out to speak to the American people on what happened in Benghazi, she is obligated to do more than look at three sentences of unclassified or five sentences of unclassified talking points," King said. "That was basically a cover story. She had access to all of the sensitive top secret classified information, and she knew that the story she was giving out was not entirely true."

Republicans have sharply criticized Rice for her Sunday show appearances which blamed the attack on spontaneous anger over an anti-Islam film posted to YouTube and not terrorism, in the immediate aftermath of the incident. The White House later said the attack was a pre-planned terrorist assault. 

On Wednesday, Rice told reporters that she "relied solely and squarely on the information provided to me by the intelligence community," and that she "made clear that the information was preliminary."

King on Sunday, though, went on to accuse Rice of knowing that references to a possible terrorist attack had been edited out of her talking points, and said she should not have aggressively fingered the YouTube video as the cause of the violence.

"She certainly toned down, almost minimized the issue of the terrorist threat," King said. "If there was any security reasons for doing that, she should not have emphasized it as much as she did about the video and the demonstration. It sent the wrong message to the question."

King added that he doubted Rice's sincerity when she claimed to be relying simply on the briefing materials provided by the intelligence community.

"That assessment was incomplete and she knew it," King said. "As U.N. ambassador, and someone in the chain of command of the State Department, she has an obligation not to just be a puppet and take what's handed to her… If she didn't get the whole picture, she failed in her responsibility."