New Evidence: White House Changed Benghazi Talking Points
The mystery of the misleading Benghazi talking points today became a little less murky. A Freedom of Information Act request from Judicial Watch has revealed who in the Obama White House gave former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice the misleading Benghazi talking pointsj. Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes has his finger prints all over the most incriminating document of the lot.
Rice served up the Obama administration’s talking points (which were soon revealed as so much spin) with great eloquence to the American people on a whopping five Sunday talk shows September 16, 2012—five days after the brutal murder of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
A 140-page tranche of documents (some heavily redacted) from the State Department and the National Security Council (NSC) reveals an administration struggling to come to grips with the attack and with the protests throughout the Middle East. They also reveal an administration determined to avoid blame for its policy failures.
On page 14, we find this email from Ben Rhodes, sent on September 14 at 8:09 p.m., to a number of Obama administration officials, including White House spokesman Jay Carney, NSC deputy spokesman David Plouffe, and others.
The tag line reads: RE: PREP CALL with Susan Saturday at 4.00 pm ET.
From the e-mail:
“Goals: To convey that the United States is doing everything that we can to protect our people and facilities abroad.
To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not in a broader policy failure.
To show that we will be resolute in bringing people who harm Americans to justice and standing steadfast through these protests.
To reinforce the Presidents and Administration’s strength and steadfastness in dealing with difficult challenges.”
By the next morning, Saturday the 15th, deputy CIA Director Mike Morell had cut and edited the fairly comprehensive talking points produced by the CIA to reflect the directions of Rhodes. Morell removed any reference to terrorism, and overruled the eyewitness evidence of the CIA’s own station chief in Libya, who stated that there was no protest whatsoever in Benghazi.
For the Obama national security council, the problem was that the Benghazi attack ran directly counter to its Libya policy. The administration, from the president on down, clung to the fiction that terrorism was something of the past, and Al-Qaeda was “on the run.” (The president’s speech writers finally removed that unfortunate phrase from his campaign speeches after the Benghazi attack.)
Watch ABC New’s Jonathan Karl grill White House Press Secretary Jay Carney over the newly released documents:
(Editor’s Note: Judicial Watch’s President Tom Fitton expressed outrage over the emails, which were more in line with damage control than dealing with the terrorist attack that killed Americans.
“Now we know the Obama White House’s chief concern about the Benghazi attack was making sure that President Obama looked good,” Fitton said in a statement. “And these documents undermine the Obama administration’s narrative that it thought the Benghazi attack had something to do with protests or an Internet video.”)
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