Former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman on Monday urged lawmakers, including those in his own party, to temper their criticism of the administration’s handling of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Huntsman, who served as U.S. ambassador to China under President Barack Obama, said that it would have been nearly impossible for authorities to instantly obtain accurate intelligence about who was responsible for the September attack, which resulted in the death of four officials. Because of that, he said, recent criticism of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for not immediately declaring the attack an act of terror was either politically motivated or misplaced.
“The issue of Benghazi, I think you can attribute to the fog of war, more than anything else,” Huntsman said in an interview with The Huffington Post. “When you’re in a wartime setting and you have an attack like that — let’s face it. No one is prepared for an attack like that. There is, as Robert McNamara used to say, there is a fog of war. And it takes awhile to sort through the details. And it doesn’t do a whole lot of good for the political class to point fingers before you even know what was behind it. And you’re not going to know that [immediately].”
In offering up his assessment, Huntsman became the rare Republican to downplay the boiling controversy surrounding the matter. Rice went to Capitol Hill Tuesday to discuss her post-attack talking points with aggrieved Republican lawmakers. Early reaction suggested that she ran into a proverbial buzzsaw.
”Bottom line: I’m more disturbed now than I was before,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters after the meeting.