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The Obama administration’s State Department had a direct hand in revising the official story on the 2012 Benghazi terror attack, new documents show

  • State  Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland objected to the CIA’s summary, which  concluded that terrorists killed four Americans
  • Attack came  in the weeks before the 2012 election, as President Obama was campaigning on the  strength of having defeated al Qaeda
  • White House  Press Secretary Jay Carney has denied that the administration had a substantial  hand in changing the official story
  • ABC News  reports that the administration’s line was edited 12  times

By  David Martosko In Washington

PUBLISHED: 12:04 EST, 10 May  2013 |  UPDATED: 12:37  EST, 10 May 2013

The Obama administration rewrote the CIA’s  official story about the Dept. 11, 2012 terror attack on the U.S. Consulate in  Benghazi, Libya, judging from 12 different versions of a summary that emerged  Friday.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has  claimed that the intelligence community was solely responsible for drafting and  revising the document – known now as the Benghazi ‘talking points – and that  editing by political appointees in the administration was limited to changing no  more than two words.

But ABC  News reported that the State  Department had direct influence on the edits, and specifically requested the  removal of references to the al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group Ansar al-Sharia,  and the deletion of references to CIA warnings in the months before the attack  that terror attacks in the eastern Libyan city were expected.

 

ABC News uncovered 12 versions of the infamous Benghazi talking points, suggesting that the Obama administration - specifically the State Department - was more involved with editing them than it has admittedABC News uncovered 12 versions of the infamous Benghazi  talking points, suggesting that the Obama administration – specifically the  State Department – was more involved with editing them than it has  admitted

The last version of the talking points, with all references to terrorism removed, shows a final edit - changing 'Consulate' to 'diplomatic outpost - the only edit that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has linked to administration appointeesThe last version of the talking points, with all  references to terrorism removed, shows a final edit – changing ‘Consulate’ to  ‘diplomatic outpost – the only edit that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney  has linked to administration appointees

In one email leaked to ABC, State Department  spokeswoman Victoria Nuland raised a red flag about the CIA-written portion  which warned that ‘The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of  extremists linked to al-Qa’ida in Benghazi and eastern Libya.’

‘Since April,’ the CIA assessment continued,  ‘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.’

Nuland emailed White House and intelligence  officials, warning that the sentences ‘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?’

The words in question did not appear in the  final version that was distributed to members of Congress.

In subsequent emails, the CIA stuck to its  guns, retaining language that said, ‘we do know that Islamic extremists with  ties to al-Qa’ida participated in the attack,’ naming Ansar al-Sharia. The draft  went on to specifically name the al Qaeda-affiliated group named Ansar  al-Sharia.

After Nuland objected again, saying that  terrorist groups should not be named because the administration did not ‘want to  prejudice the investigation,’ a member of the National Security Council staff  noted that ‘The FBI did not have major concerns with the points and offered only  a couple minor suggestions.’

But Nuland wrote that ‘my building’ – likely  referring to the State Department’s top leadership – was still  unhappy.

Ultimately, according to the emails ABC News  unearthed, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes conceded that the State  Department’s concerns should be considered.

White House press secretary Jay Carney told the press that the administration had a 'nonsubstantive' role in editing the talking points, but new emails suggest otherwiseWhite House press secretary Jay Carney told the press  that the administration had a ‘nonsubstantive’ role in editing the talking  points, but new emails suggest otherwise

UN Ambassador Susan Rice told five different TV audiences one day after the talking points were finalized that the Benghazi attack was the product of a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam YouTube videoUN Ambassador Susan Rice told five different TV  audiences one day after the talking points were finalized that the Benghazi  attack was the product of a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam YouTube  video. The CIA had already determined, days before, that Islamic terrorists were  to blame

Carney has briefed the press and insisted  that ‘the CIA drafted these talking points and redrafted these talking points.’

‘The fact that there are inputs is always the  case in a process like this, but the only edits made by anyone here at the White  House were stylistic and nonsubstantive. They corrected the description of the  building or the facility in Benghazi from consulate to diplomatic facility and  the like.’

Any input the White House did have likely  came at a meeting of White House deputies four days after the attack. ‘The  significant edits – deleting references to al Qaeda and the CIA’s warnings –  came [that] White House meeting,’ ABC News reported on its blog.

On the day following that meeting, UN  Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on five television talk shows and kept to the  resulting line that a spontaneous protest – not a terror attack –  was behind the destruction of the consulate and the loss of life.

Nuland, ABC News adds, was not at the  deputies’ meeting and did not prepare Rice for her interviews.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland's emails show that the agency, then headed by Hillary Clinton, had a direct hand in altering the official story on the Benghazi terror attackState Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland’s emails  show that the agency, then headed by Hillary Clinton, had a direct hand in  altering the official story on the Benghazi terror attack

Inside the White House press briefing room (at right), Jay Carney will brief the press today and is expected to face spiraling allegations that the Obama administration had a hand in editing the now-infamous Benghazi talking pointsInside the White House press briefing room (at right),  Jay Carney will brief the press today and is expected to face spiraling  allegations that the Obama administration had a hand in editing the now-infamous  Benghazi talking points that obscured the cause of a 2012 raid on the U.S.  Consulate in that eastern Libyan city

‘We must make sure that the talking points  reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we  don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation,’ Rhodes emailed the group  reviewing the talking points. ‘We thus will work through the talking points  tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting.’

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has  become the focus of post-Benghazi political wrangling, with Republicans on  Capitol Hill accusing her of stonewalling a congressional investigation and  adding accusations of an administration cover-up.

Clinton is likely to run for president in  2016, Democratic political analysts predict, making the performance of her  agency a political football.

The State Department did not respond to  requests for comment.

U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens (L) and three other American personnel died in the Benghazi attack, now understood to have been carried out by Ansar al-Sharia and other al-Qaeda-linked groupsU.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens (L) and  three other American personnel died in the Benghazi attack, now understood to  have been carried out by Ansar al-Sharia and other al-Qaeda-linked  groups

The U.S. Consulate was left in ruins after terrorists' pre-set mortars rained down and rocket-propelled grenades caused fires and explosions on Sept. 11, 2012The U.S. Consulate was left in ruins after terrorists’  pre-set mortars rained down and rocket-propelled grenades caused fires and  explosions on Sept. 11, 2012

But Clinton’s tenure at State will continue  to be a source of controversy. A career diplomat who was second-in-command in  Libya on the night of the Benghazi attack testified before Congress on Wednesday  that a commando team was turned back from flying from Tripoli to Benghazi after  the State Department intervened.

Gregory Hicks quoted an Army colonel telling  him over the phone that ‘this is the first time in my career that a diplomat has  more balls than somebody in the military.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2322660/The-Obama-administrations-State-Department-direct-hand-revising-official-story-2012-Benghazi-terror-attack-new-documents-show.html#ixzz2T2rrOjwa Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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