By Jonathan Karl
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.
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 …”
The paragraph was entirely deleted.
From the beginning, the government conspired to lie to the public – per Nuland. We have the conspiracy and the fact that they lied, which I think are two separate but connected matters. A colaborative lie.
Note how amidst another terrorist attack on September 11th that government’s immediate priority is to protect itself – for political reasons. Doing that using their talking points. Ben Rhodes validated the State Department concerns.
I don’t like the term talking points, it is the story they will tell the public. So Nuland and her comrades decided:[my translation] “Can we tell them the truth? That would be bad for us and make us look bad. No, we cannot tell people the truth.” That was the conclusion
So the debate began about what story to tell the American public. Then they decided to lie to the American people. They clearly lied. Benghazi was not a protest gone wrong.
Then you had government spokespeople defend the lie. They might be talking points, it is what they will tell the public. Meanwhile, Hillary denied she was involved in the “talking points” process. “What difference, at this point, does it make?”
Jay Carney 5/10/13:
“If you look at the issue here, the efforts to politicize it were always about, you know, were we trying to play down the fact that there was an act of terror and an attack on the embassy. And the problem has always been with that assertion it is completely hollow because the President himself in the Rose Garden said this was an act of terror and he talked about it within the context of September 11th, 2001.”