Burton joined the Obama forces’ defensive posture Nov. 18 after Dowd’s influential column dismissed Rice as a potential Secretary of State.
“Our [Democratic] Rice is better than your Rice… and it’s true. Condi Rice sold her soul. Susan Rice merely rented hers on the talk shows one Sunday in September,” wrote Dowd in her column, titled “Is Rice Cooked?”
“She would have been wise… [to] vet her talking points, given that members of the intelligence and diplomatic communities and sources in news accounts considered it a terrorist attack days before Rice went on the shows,” Dowd argued.
Dowd also claimed at least one White House official shared her criticism.
Rice “‘saw this as a great opportunity to go out and close the stature gap. … She was focused on the performance, not the content. … What if what you’re saying isn’t true, even if you’re saying it well?” the official said, according to Dowd in her column.
Burton responded by suggesting that Dowd’s column violated the newspaper’s standards against reliance on unnamed officials.
“Hard to see how the axe grinding quotes about Susan Rice in this Dowd piece… square w/ NYT policy,” he tweeted.
Besides, “Obama admin didn’t overreact [to intelligence data] & start a war,” Burton added.
Increasing numbers of GOP legislators say they are persuaded that White House officials knew early on that al-Qaida’s allies were behind the attack, but instead choose to rewrite intelligence reports and blame the anti-Islam YouTube video.
Several GOP legislators reported Friday that David Petraeus, the recently departed CIA director, told a Nov. 16 hearing that administration officials rewrote his Sept. 12 report to hide al-Qaida’s role in the Benghazi attack.
Continuing congressional investigations likely will examine if claims by Obama and Rice about an angry mob were intended to hide the failure of the president’s Arab-outreach policy during the weeks prior to the November election.
In response, White House officials and allied Democratic legislators now insist that there was no cover-up. Instead, they blame shifting intelligence data and complex classification rules for an apparent overemphasis on the video’s role in the jihadi attack.
However, numerous pre-election White House statements highlighted the video’s supposed role in the attack. On Sept. 25, for example, Obama used his speech before the U.N General Assembly to decry the streaming-video attack on Muhammad and to insist that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
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