Rice and Rogers Discuss Middle East Unrest
US Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said the administration "absolutely" believes that the riots across the Middle East are the reaction to a 14 minute movie trailer denigrating the Prophet Muhammad.
Rice added, as various members of the administration have over that past several days, that there is no justification for the violence.
Critics of the president's foreign policy charge that the Obama White House has disengaged from the Middle East, and the result is emboldened extremist groups.
"That’s just false," Rice said.
While she acknowledged that Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi’s initial reaction wasn’t “sufficiently robust,” the ambassador said that his cooperation since President Obama's phone call to him is, “evidence of our influence.”
Ambassador Rice said that while we will not know for certain the details of the attack until the FBI's investigation is complete, the best information they have today is that the attack on Benghazi was not a "preplanned, premeditated attack."
It was a spontaneous reaction to what had happened in Cairo.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said for him, it was "too early" to come to the conclusion that the attack in Libya was spontaneous and not preplanned.
Rogers, a former FBI special agent, said one thing he learned in training is that "There are coincidences, but they are not likely."
Citing the sophistication and timing of the attack, Rogers said he does not think one can come to the conclusions the administration seems to have come to so soon.
Rogers was not ready to rule out an al Qaeda influence in the attack either. "It just has all the hallmarks of an al Qaeda style attack," the intelligence chairman said.
“(They have) a strong interest to attack western targets,” Rogers said, pointing to the development of extremists groups alinged with al Qaeda in Northern Africa.