What Did Susan Rice Say After the 1998 Embassy Bombings?
On August 7, 1998 two bomb explosions rocked U.S. embassies in the African countries of Kenya and Tanzania. An interview with then- Asst. Secretary of State Susan Rice on that very date follows. Yes- The very same Susan Rice who is now up to her neck in BengaziGate and is being touted as possible nominee for Secretary of State. THIS IS THE FULL INTERVIEW which is short enough but important bits are highlighted. Further, editorial commentary inserted by your humble blogger is italicized and underlined. credit PBS.Org
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: We are joined now by Susan Rice, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. Thank you for being with us. Could you bring us up to date and give us the most recent casualty figures, since we’re getting different figures from different sources for both embassies, both cities.
SUSAN RICE, Assistant Secretary of State: Yes, Elizabeth. Our information is most accurate, as it pertains to American citizens and those employed by our embassies. The latest information from Nairobi is that eight Americans, eight official Americans have been killed. There are another six who are missing and unaccounted for. And approximately 14 who are in hospital receiving treatment. Some of them are quite seriously injured. We have many others who have been injured, many other casualties, including a number of the Kenyan foreign service nationals who work in our embassy.
The death toll among that group and among the Kenyan population is something that we are still all awaiting further information on. In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, no Americans were killed, and we have no reason to believe that we’ll get different information on that at this stage. A number were seriously injured. One was Medivacced out of the country, and we did, unfortunately, lose five Tanzanians who were employed by our embassy.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: We just heard that graphic report from Clive Mutiso. Can you tell us what you’re hearing from Dar Es Salaam. He was talking about Nairobi.
SUSAN RICE: Well, I think the situation in Dar Es Salaam is a little bit less chaotic and grave than it appears to be in Nairobi. The blast was quite severe. It did major structural damage to our embassy, as well as to surrounding facilities. There were, as I mentioned, a number killed, as well as a number seriously injured, but the numbers appear to be on a much smaller scale than is the case in Kenya. (OK, she’s probably restating what has obviously been reported by the media at this point, yes?)
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Can you tell us anything about the explosives? Do you know what they were? Would you say that these were bombs?
SUSAN RICE: At this stage, Elizabeth, we have to say that that’s a law enforcement matter for investigation. We will look forward to the evidence and the forensics giving us clear word on that.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Did you have any warnings?
SUSAN RICE: We had no telephone warning or call of any sort like that, that might have alerted either embassy just prior to the blast. (“just prior to the blast”? How about the days, week & months leading up to…?) And beyond that, as we go through the investigation, we’ll look for other information that might have been helpful.
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Have you gotten any calls, any information from groups claiming responsibility?
SUSAN RICE: We have not-the U.S. Government has not gotten any calls directly. A Cairo-based newspaper has received one claim. We have no further information at this stage, no reason to assume that it’s credible. (any reason to assume that it is NOT credible?)
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Who was the group that claimed responsibility there?
SUSAN RICE: I don’t have the name handy. It was not a well-known group. (“I don’t have the name handy”? Even in 1998, generic Muslim Fundamentalists WERE on the radar!)
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: As you know, there were news reports saying that a banned Egyptian group, who was upset over the extradition of some of their members from Albania, which the U.S. apparently had a hand in, had threatened American installations, I think this week. Any credibility in that?
SUSAN RICE: I can’t comment on the specifics of that threat, but let me say that we receive threats-I’m told-as many as 30,000 a year to our facilities around the world. They’re all taken seriously; they’re all investigated.(Assuming pre-attack threats were taken seriously and investigated in 1998- what happened between 1998 and the threats prior to the Benghazi attacks that changed the asserted 1998 investigative culture?) But we have nothing to suggest any direct link to what has happened today. As I said, again, that’s going to be a question for the investigators to look into. credit PBS.Org