Benghazi – ABC Reports

Benghazi

ABC is finally reporting on Benghazi.  And the latest report from them has email showing the Talking Points went through multiple revisions, up to 12:

 

When it became clear last fall that the CIA’s now discredited Benghazi talking points were flawed, the White House said repeatedly the documents were put together almost entirely by the intelligence community, but White House documents reviewed by Congress suggest a different story.

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.

White House emails reviewed by ABC News suggest the edits were made with extensive input from the State Department.  The edits included requests from the State Department that references to the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Ansar al-Sharia be deleted as well references to CIA warnings about terrorist threats in Benghazi in the months preceding the attack.

That would appear to directly contradict what White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said about the talking points in November.

“Those talking points originated from the intelligence community.  They reflect the IC’s best assessments of what they thought had happened,” Carney told reporters at the White House press briefing on November 28, 2012.  “The White House and the State Department have made clear that the single adjustment that was made to those talking points by either of those two institutions were changing the word ‘consulate’ to ‘diplomatic facility’ because ‘consulate’ was inaccurate.”

Now, I’m well aware that documents go through review and editing.  I’ve been part of that process.  However, the changes made to these talking points are to clarify some obscure detail or correct a time stamp in a timeline.  These revisions changed the story.

However, it is important to point out:

Like the final version used by Ambassador Rice on the Sunday shows, the CIA’s first drafts said the attack appeared to have been “spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo” but the CIA version went on to say, “That being said, we do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qa’ida participated in the attack.”  The draft went on to specifically name  the al Qaeda-affiliated group named Ansar al-Sharia.

Once again, Nuland objected to naming the terrorist groups because “we don’t want to prejudice the investigation.”

It does appear that the initial report contained language surrounding the events in Cairo.  However, the testimony from the hearings gave no credence to the fact that anyone at anytime felt that the attacks were nothing but an organized terrorist attack.

5 responses to “Benghazi – ABC Reports

  1. Wait, so the first drafts from the CIA explicitly say that the attack appeared to be a spontaneous attack related to the video (or at least the protests at the Embassy in Cairo, which were related to the video), and noted that some terrorist-affiliated people helped out in that spontaneous attack. Doesn’t that directly contradict the hearing testimony from Hicks that said no one at all thought the video was related? If anything, this tends to discredit him as a knowledgeable source.

    • I think it does 1 of 2 things, maybe both.

      To your point, it contradicts his testimony and may cast doubt on his testimony.

      However, I think that aspect is minimal. There is no longer any doubt that people on the ground felt that this was a terrorist attack. The acting Secretary of State in Near East reported to the Libyan Ambassador to the United States the very next day that it was an attack carried out y known terrorists.

      Further, I have not seen one single report doubting his testimony.

      What I think is much more significant is that it gives the State Department plausible deniability in repeating the story of the video. From the reports released by ABC, it would appear that the CIA reported they felt it was or could be, the video.

  2. There is no longer any doubt that people on the ground felt that this was a terrorist attack.

    There is a very big difference between a terrorist attack and an attack that terrorist-affiliated elements joined in on when it happened. The CIA memo states the latter, not the former.

    Either way, I still am mystified beyond the significance of calling it terrorist or not within 24 hours, other than y’all doing a victory lap chanting “He lied!”

    • There is a very big difference between a terrorist attack and an attack that terrorist-affiliated elements joined in on when it happened. The CIA memo states the latter, not the former.

      So I don’t like what Dubya did when he was able to pass the Patriot Act. For example, I’m not sure that Boston was an “act of terrorism”. And I cringe at the fact that the guy is being charged with use of a “weapon of mass destruction.”

      All of which is to say I agree with you.

      Either way, I still am mystified beyond the significance of calling it terrorist or not within 24 hours, other than y’all doing a victory lap chanting “He lied!”

      The more I continue to think about it, the more I’m convinced that we have to accept Hanlon’s Razor:

      Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

      I think that Obama is paralyzed when it comes to issues where his world views collide with reality. I honestly feel that he doesn’t know how to rectify a violent crisis that demands sure and hard decisions that means violence with the calm, peaceful path he advocates. He can’t be Bush the Third.

      I don’t think he knows how to act.

      And that isn’t illegal.

      And then, when faced with the repercussions of his handling of the situation, he really did build a narrative that the issue was one of spontaneous protests.

      It wasn’t. We know it now and we knew it then.

      I’m not sure that anything will come of this in terms of real game changers; Obama won’t be forced to resign, Hillary will be just fine in 2016. In fact, now that I reflect on it, it might be a gigantic “I told you so” dating back to the 2012 election.

      Romney was right, Obama screwed the dog on this. The story they trotted out was a lie and they knew it. I suspect we all knew that Benghazi wasn’t handled right. Further, he didn’t call it an act of terrorism in the Rose Garden anymore than he said that business owners “didn’t build that” at the fire station.

      Bottom line, I don’t expect resignations or career endings here. All I want is for the record to be clear that the administration screwed this thing from beginning to end.

  3. It is the cover up. In Watergate it was the cover up that destroyed Nixon, not the botched burglary. In the Lewinsky scandal it was the cover up and the lying under oath that got Bill Clinton disbarred and almost impeached, not the sex with a subordinate. With Benghazi it was the weeks of video stories and the demotion of of Hicks, plus the 8 months of cover up that will do the political damage.

    I wonder if any lasting damage will be done to the credibility to the lapdog media that worked hand in glove with the administration to bury the story.

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