During a television appearance on Sunday National Security Advisor Susan Rice said that Pfc. (Sgt.) Bowe Bergdahl had served his country with “honor and distinction.” On Friday, CNN’s Jim Acosta called her out, hinting that she’s either a White House parrot or an outright liar.
“I realize there has been lots of discussion and controversy around this,” Rice said when asked to clarify her “honor and distinction” remarks. “But what I was referring to was the fact that this was a young man who volunteered to serve his country in uniform at a time of war. That, in and of itself, is a very honorable thing.”
Many Americans—and soldiers who served alongside Bergdahl— have raised questions about whether he deserted his post in Afghanistan, or worse, actively sought out the Taliban insurgents who would eventually hold him captive for five years.
Acosta was unsatisfied with the answer and pressed, “But honor and distinction?”
“Jim, really, this is a young man whose circumstances we are still going to learn about. He is, as all Americans, innocent until proven guilty,” Rice deflected. “He’s now being tried in the court of public opinion after having gone through enormously traumatic five years of captivity — his parents, the same. I think what we need to care most about is his health and well-being and recovery.”
The National Security Advisor added that, pending the results of a military review, Bergdahl will be held responsible for his actions if he is found guilty of wrongdoing.
Continuing to focus on Rice’s “honor and distinction remarks, Acosta reminded Rice of how she has misspoken in the past.
“After Benghazi, you blamed that attack on an anti-Muslim video and of course you know you’ve become sort of a GOP lightning rod,” Acosta said. “You’ve been accused by Republican critics of being fast and loose with the facts during some of these Sunday talk show appearances.
He then asked, “Are you being upfront with the American people or are you being guided by talking points too much when you go on these programs?”
Rice again reiterated that the Obama Administration isn’t prepared to condemn any of Bergdahl’s actions at this time. With regard to Benghazi, Rice said that she had simply delivered the “best information that the U.S. government had at the time.”
“Parts of it turned out to be wrong,” she added. “I regret that the information I was provided was wrong and that I delivered to the American people. That doesn’t make me a liar.”
Watch the full interview via CNN.