Lindsey Graham: Susan Rice Can't Be Trusted, Should Be Replaced

Wednesday, 04 Jun 2014 04:45 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Susan Rice should be replaced immediately as national security adviser because she is untrustworthy and unreliable, Sen. Lindsey Graham says.

"I have no confidence in her. When I hear her on television talking about a world event, I can't believe anything she tells me,'' Graham, a South Carolina Republican, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"I mean," Graham said Wednesday, "do you trust that she's going to tell you accurately what happened?"

Rice has come under fire for her appearance on ABC's "This Week," in which she said of just-released Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, "He served the United States with honor and distinction."

But hours after Rice's statement about Bergdahl, who was swapped for five top-ranking Taliban terrorists, reports emerged that he had been captured after deserting his unit.

Graham said Rice's alleged misinformation came on the heels of her discredited statements about the terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, blaming it on an anti-Islamic video when she was the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

"Five days after the Benghazi attack, [she] told a story about a protest and a video that never happened, wrote this off to a violent protest caused by a hateful video, [and] ignored the fact that there was no protest,'' Graham said.

"[She] sold a lie to the American people about how secure the consulate was.''

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Graham chalked up Rice's misstatements to "one of two things: She's completely detached from the reality of the situation and literally makes things up that sound good, or she's manipulating the information for political reasons."

"Either way, should she be the national security adviser? What led her to believe that [Bergdahl's] service could be characterized as honorable — 'honor and distinction'?''

Graham also has theories about what is ultimately behind Rice's remarks.

"I am convinced that the White House, [deputy national security adviser] Ben Rhodes, and others came up with a storyline of a protest and a video to get us away from terrorism [on Benghazi],'' he said.

"[And] I am now convinced that they expected the whole world — the public here in the U.S. — to stand up and cheer when [Obama] said the war is over in Afghanistan, we're going to have no troops, and by the way, I got Bergdahl home.''

Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Judicial committees, doubts Obama has any intention of sacking Rice.

"I would have never hired her to begin with after Benghazi, but he's not going to replace her [just] because I say so,'' he said.

Graham also told host Steve Malzberg that the trading of Bergdahl for five top terrorists was "a big day" for the Taliban.

"You know, the only reason they're not dancing in the streets, they just don't believe in dancing,'' he said.

"Last week was a huge week for the Taliban. We're now saying we're going to withdraw completely by the end of 2016, which is a dumb idea because we should have some bases left in Afghanistan as lines of defenses between us, al-Qaida, and the Taliban. This is where 9/11 happened,'' Graham said.

"It's in our interest to have forward-operating locations over there to keep the enemy at bay. And it would've been good to have some support for the Afghan security forces so the Taliban could never come back.

"So, we withdraw and they get their dream team back on the field in a year. So, hell of a week for the Taliban.''

While the White House has issued apologies to some lawmakers for not informing them of the swap, Graham was not one of them.

"I think hell will freeze over before Obama apologizes to me on national security, and I'm not looking for an apology,'' he said.

"There's no reason this should be classified. I want to know, is it really honestly true that Bergdahl was near death and that's why we had to do it when we did?

"Could you have not gotten a better deal? Did you have to give all five back or did you want to give all five back?''

Graham said he believes the former Army buddies of Bergdahl who say he walked off the base as a deserter.

"The people who have appeared on television to talk about Bergdahl's actions and behavior are members of his unit. I don't think they're associated with any organized political group, I don't think they formed a pack, I don't think they have a political agenda,'' he said.

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