It seems pretty clear now that she based her statements on information the CIA provided at the time. That information proved erroneous, and why the CIA was giving faulty information to senior administration officials remains unclear. I haven’t seen persuasive evidence to support the theory that Rice’s statements were part of a coverup to hide a terrorist attack. The fact that Rice was working from information provided by the CIA would seem to undercut such a theory.
In any case, the big questions concerning the Benghazi attack are not about what administration officials said or didn’t say in the first few days that followed. Any further investigations ought to focus on why the attack came as such a surprise, why our personnel weren’t better protected and, most important, what we need to do to ensure that our diplomats in the field can continue doing their vital work in reasonable safety. There is also a larger question: whether the administration’s “light footprint” in Libya after the fall of Moammar Gaddafi was too light. These are issues that ought to concern the secretaries of state and defense, the CIA director and others responsible for our diplomats’ security as well as our broader foreign policy doctrine.
But none of this was under the purview of the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.