From the start, the Obama administration insisted that the Benghazi talking points that UN Ambassador Susan Rice relied on were written almost exclusively by the CIA. According to this article, that story was pure fiction. What’s more is that the White House and the State Department knew it was fiction:
State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland raised specific objections to this paragraph drafted by the CIA in its earlier versions of the talking points:
“The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al-Qa’ida in Benghazi and eastern Libya. These noted that, since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador’s convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks.”
In an email to officials at the White House and the intelligence agencies, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland took issue with including that information because it “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either? Concerned …”
In other words, Victoria Nuland knew that the initial talking points from the “IC” included references to al-Qa’ida and the “five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi.” Ms. Nuland knew that those references were damaging to the State Department and this administration. That’s why she insisted that that information be deleted from the talking points.
Ms. Nuland was right. Members of Congress likely would’ve used the information to expose President Obama and Hillary Clinton for being inattentive about terrorism in general and Benghazi in specific.
It’s difficult to say that President Obama and Hillary Clinton paid attention to terrorism when they’re defending their decision to cut security forces in the aftermath of the previous terrorist attacks in Benghazi. It’s especially difficult to defend their decisions in light of the multiple frantic requests for more security troops.
These paragraphs are particularly disturbing:
In an email dated 9/14/12 at 9:34 p.m. — three days after the attack and two days before Ambassador Rice appeared on the Sunday shows, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes wrote an email saying the State Department’s concerns needed to be addressed.
“We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation. We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting.”
“The State Department’s concerns need to be addressed” is just a fancy way of saying the talking points must be rewritten to eliminate the information that makes this administration look bad.
Finally, this speaks for itself:
ABC News has obtained 12 different versions of the talking points that show they were extensively edited as they evolved from the drafts first written entirely by the CIA to the final version distributed to Congress and to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice before she appeared on five talk shows the Sunday after that attack.
It isn’t accurate to say that the talking points weren’t “the best analysis of the IC” as Jay Carney and Hillary Clinton insisted. The talking points were the product of a massive State Department rewrite.