WASHINGTON — Five days after the attack on the US Consulate in Libya, UN Ambassador Susan Rice described what precipitated the deadly assault based on initial intelligence that later proved incorrect, the deputy CIA director told Congress on Thursday.
In a closed-door session with the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Morell said Rice was provided with an unclassified version of events at the mission in Benghazi that left American Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others dead, according to Representative Adam Schiff of California, a Democratic member of the panel.
The assessment concluded that a spontaneous protest over an anti-Muslim video had evolved into an attack on the American consulate, a description that Rice presented in television interviews the Sunday morning after the attack.
Schiff told reporters that he did not think the intelligence community had politicized the information. ‘‘They gave us the best initial assessments, and those proved inaccurate, but they warned us those assessments were subject to change as they got more information,’’ he said.
Rice’s comments on national television have drawn fierce criticism, with some Senate Republicans promising to block her nomination if President Obama taps her to replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Obama angrily defended Rice at a White House news conference on Wednesday and called the complaints outrageous attempts to besmirch her reputation.