By Jill Dougherty
The State Department stood by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice Monday, rejecting calls by Republicans that she step down
Asked to comment on demands by Rep. Peter King, R-New York, that Rice step down for what he says were misleading comments about the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters: "Secretary (Hillary) Clinton believes that Ambassador Rice has done a superb job, so let's just start there, and we completely reject any such calls here in this building."
Asked to explain inconsistencies from the Obama administration about the attack on the mission in which four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, died, Nuland said: "When we gave our initial impressions that very first week of how we understood things had happened, we were very careful here, the secretary was careful, to make clear that these were preliminary assessments, that we would have to fully investigate, and to the extent that there were lessons to be learned we were going to have to take those on board."
The FBI began its investigation and Secretary Clinton established an accountability review board, as she is required to do by law, and Nuland said the department wants to let the investigations go forward.
Subsequently, more information has come forward, Nuland said, including the statement Friday by Shawn Turner, spokesman for the director of national intelligence, "That more information has come forward over the course of time, which has given them more of what they need to understand it. But it's their business to assess the intelligence, not ours."
The State Department spokeswoman said the Benghazi mission remains closed until further notice. On Friday of last week ,the State Department took out six additional staff members from the embassy in Tripoli. Five of them have returned.