Hannity Ignores Evidence To Attack Susan Rice Over '98 Embassy Bombings

Sean Hannity implied that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was complicit in security failures surrounding the 1998 bombings at U.S. embassies in Africa by drawing parallels between those incidents and the recent attack in Benghazi, Libya. But recent reports have made it clear that Rice was not to blame for a lack of security at the African embassies. 

Hannity was echoing criticism made by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). After meeting with Rice, Collins told reporters on Thursday that she was troubled by parallels she claimed to see between the attack in Benghazi and the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, when Rice was assistant secretary of state for African affairs.

The Associated Press reported that review boards established to investigate the 1998 bombings “did not find reasonable cause that any U.S. employee breached his duty in [connection] with the bombings” and noted, “Rice was not blamed.” The Huffington Post reported that members of those review boards have said Rice was not responsible for inadequate security; review board member Philip Wilcox said he didn't “remember any inference or allegation that Susan Rice had been negligent” in her role at the State Department, while Michael Armacost, who was also on one of the review boards, said, “I don't recall anything about [Rice having a role].”

Further, as Mother Jones' David Corn pointed out, Rice was not mentioned in the boards' reports at all. Corn noted that Rice “was a policy person who would not be in charge of embassy or security operations.”

Yet on Thursday night, Hannity echoed Collins' remarks, saying that those at the embassy in Kenya had requested additional security before the bombings. He also pointed out that Rice delivered televised remarks following both the '98 attacks in Africa and the Benghazi attack, and accused Rice of “propagandiz[ing]” in both sets of appearances. Hannity concluded, “Tell me where this doesn't sound familiar,” and later said the Africa bombings were “so very similar to Benghazi, and assistance denied again.”

Hannity is also wrong to characterize Rice's televised appearances after Benghazi as “propagandiz[ing].”  Fox News hosts have repeatedly attacked Rice for the comments she made on Sunday news shows on September 16, particularly for linking the attack to an anti-Islam video made in the U.S. But intelligence officials and media reports have confirmed that Rice was accurately conveying information provided by the intelligence community. Further, subsequent reporting has shown that some attackers said they were motivated by the anti-Islam video that Rice referenced.