Tags: rice | mccain | senate | foreign

Report: McCain to Join Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Monday, 10 Dec 2012 05:10 PM

The most outspoken critic of UN Ambassador Susan Rice is expected to join the Senate committee charged with vetting her credentials if she is nominated to head up the State Department.

Arizona Sen. John McCain confirmed to Foreign Policy's blog The Cable that he would be joining the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January.

However, his publicist, Brian Rogers, notes that the entire conversation is just conjecture until that time. "Senator McCain has expressed interest in joining the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but no final decisions on committee assignments have been made," he said.

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Though he has his concerns about Rice, McCain maintained the respect for the nominating system he has encouraged since 2005 when he responded to Democratic attempts to block the nomination of former UN Ambassador John Bolton.

Rice has not actually been nominated by President Barack Obama to take over after Hillary Clinton leaves her post as Secretary of State when she leaves in January, as Obama press secretary Jay Carney has said several times in recent weeks.

"I'll wait and see if she's nominated and we'll move on from there. She has the right to have hearings. We'll see what happens in the hearings," he said.

Rice has taken significant heat, especially from McCain for continuing to use official CIA talking points in interviews while he thought she should have moderated the statements to more accurately describe what happened.

"She is responsible to the Senate of the United States...I was on 'Face the Nation' the morning she came on and told that incredible story and right after the president of the Libyan National Assembly said it was al Qaeda...and yet she never changed her story," he said in November to CBS News.

At the time, McCain said she was at a minimum guilty of "not being very bright, because it was obvious that this was not a 'flash mob' and there was additional information by the time she went on every news show...in America."

In addition to what he has said about her role in explaining the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, McCain said he has questions about the role Rice played in the late 90s during the Clinton administration.

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Specifically, he has said, with regard to her role in Africa during the Rwandan genocide and some other ties to various African leaders.

"I have some concerns about what happened in Africa under her watch,” McCain said. “All that has not been examined,"

Though he is trying to move from the ARC to the FRC, McCain has said he would not seek a leadership position on Foreign Relations, and that he would retain his seat on Armed Forces as well.

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