Friday, May 3, 2013

White House Doctored Talking Points on Benghazi Attack

It could be Ambassador Susan Rice was telling the truth as she knew it when she appeared on 6 Sunday talk shows. Steven Hayes at the Weekly Standard has put together a timeline as the CIA altered the talking points it issued to Congress.
After CIA director David Petraeus briefed Congress on the attack, Democrat Dutch Ruppersburger, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, asked the director to provide non classified talking points so that members of Congress could inform their constituents as to what had happened in Benghazi.
It is not my intention to copy and paste the entire text of perhaps the best piece of journalism I've come across in a decade and I urge readers to please read the entire Weekly Standard piece. Here is the story in a nutshell.
Within hours of the initial attack on the U.S. facility, the State Department Operations Center sent out two alerts. The first, at 4:05 p.m. (all times are Eastern Standard Time), indicated that the compound was under attack; the second, at 6:08 p.m., indicated that Ansar al Sharia, an al Qaeda-linked terrorist group operating in Libya, had claimed credit for the attack. According to the House report, these alerts were circulated widely inside the government, including at the highest levels. The fighting in Benghazi continued for another several hours, so top Obama administration officials were told even as the fighting was taking place that U.S. diplomats and intelligence operatives were likely being attacked by al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists. A cable sent the following day, September 12, by the CIA station chief in Libya, reported that eyewitnesses confirmed the participation of Islamic militants and made clear that U.S. facilities in Benghazi had come under terrorist attack. It was this fact, along with several others, that top Obama officials would work so hard to obscure.
In response to Congressman Ruppersburger's request the CIA issued the version 1 of the talking points. In response to objections from State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland who said that an unnamed "senior State Dept official (read probably Hillary) had "serious concerns" that members of Congress would use the talking points to criticize the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings the CIA issued version 2.
One official—Ben Rhodes, The Weekly Standard is told, a top adviser to President Obama on national security and foreign policy—further advised the group that the issues would be resolved in a meeting of top administration officials the following morning at the White House.
The result of this meeting was version 3 which was probably used by Ambassador Rice. If these charges are substantiated it going to make a pretty bad mess of some pretty big reputations. When a government agency lies to protect a derelict and deceitful president from the well earned voter outrage that would have ensued there is a big problem. Hooray for Steven Hayes and the Weekly Standard.

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