In a wide-ranging interview about NSA leaks, Iran, Syria and Benghazi on Sunday night’s “60 Minutes,” host Leslie Stahl sat down with President Barack Obama’s national security advisor Susan Rice, asking if the Obama administration would offer Edward Snowden amnesty in exchange for the potentially damaging million and half documents yet to be revealed.
“We don’t think Snowden deserves amnesty. He should be sent back and have his day in court,” Rice said.
A federal judge ruled last week that the National Security Agency’s collection of millions of domestic telephone communication records is unconstitutional, but Rice insisted the NSA is doing a “heck of a good job” at protecting Americans.
Stahl confronted Rice about administration officials in the intelligence community providing misleading statements at congressional hearings and the FISA court.
“Officials in the intelligence community have actually been untruthful both to the American public in hearings in Congress and to the FISA Court,” she said.
“There have been cases where they have inadvertently made false representations,” Rice replied. “And they themselves have discovered it and corrected it.”
Several minutes later into the interview, Rice was asked about a false representation of her own. Despite numerous reports pointing to the fact that the Benghazi attack had not happened “spontaneously” as Rice claimed on several Sunday shows in 2012, she now claims she “doesn’t have time” for a “false controversy.”
RICE: I don’t have time to think about a false controversy. In the midst of all of the swirl about things like talking points, the administration’s been working very, very hard across the globe to review our security of our embassies and our facilities. That’s what we ought to be focused on.
STAHL: But the questions keep coming. When someone heard that I was going to be talking to you they said, “You have to ask her why Hillary Clinton didn’t do the interview that morning.” Did she, did she smell trouble?
RICE: She had just gone through an incredibly painful and stressful week. Secretary Clinton, as our chief diplomat, had to reach out to the families, had to greet the bodies upon their arrival at Andrews Air Force Base. If I were her, the last thing I would have wanted to do is five Sunday morning talk shows. So I think it’s perfectly understandable —
STAHL: So when they asked you —
RICE: So when the White House asked me, I agreed to do it.
STAHL: Do you ever think, “Gee, I wish I hadn’t done that”? You know, if you hadn’t done that, I’d be calling you Madam Secretary of State, maybe.
RICE: Well, you can call me Susan.
Good news for anyone else in the Obama administration willing to be thrown under the bus for damage control: 60 Minutes notes that Rice now has “what some consider the second-best office in the White House.”