Removing mention of al-Qaeda, so as not to show up Obama’s then-recent statement about al-Qaeda being on the ropes.
“Report: State officials involved in Benghazi talking points edits,” by Jonathan Easley from The Hill, May 10:
The State Department contributed to heavily editing talking points surrounding the attacks that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Libya, leading to the removal of references to terror groups and CIA warnings about threats in the region, according to emails and documents obtained by ABC News.
The ABC News report says that the White House and State Department were informed by intelligence officials that the CIA was aware of potential threats to the Libyan consulate from terror groups before the attacks. But the report said references to those threats were removed from the final version of the talking points used by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice because of pressure from the State Department.
According to the network, “12 different versions of the talking points” indicate extensive editing was done after they were first drafted by the CIA.
Rice appeared on Sunday news shows following the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks and argued they were a spontaneous reaction to a video deemed offensive to Islam. The administration later admitted Rice’s claim was made with insufficient intelligence, and labeled the event an act of terror.
One of the emails obtained by ABC shows State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland objecting to a paragraph in the talking points that referenced specific terrorist threats in the region because it “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings.”
The CIA had written that “(t)he 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.”
According to the ABC News report, that paragraph was deleted entirely after Nuland’s email.
The White House maintains that it had no substantive input into what went in to the talking points, and that it merely requested the word “consulate” be changed to the accurate term of “diplomatic facility.”…