Benghazi talking points carefully trimmed; possible terror links scrubbed

May 16, 2013

Under growing pressure, the White House on Wednesday released emails that showed the talking points crafted to explain the deadly terrorist attack in Benghazi last year were changed at the behest of a State Department worried about political fallout.

The 100-page cache of email printouts shows that during the editing process references to the fact that U.S. intelligence agencies believed al Qaeda-linked extremists may have been involved in the attack were removed, as were references that the CIA had received general warnings about the worsening security situation in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city.

The talking points were originally drafted by the CIA, but the references to terrorist groups and the security situation were stripped after “deep concerns” were raised by the “leadership” at the State Department, the emails show.

It wasn’t only the State Department, though. The emails show that several changes were made at the behest of White House officials, including John O. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser at the time who is now director of the CIA. That contradicts repeated statements by White House press secretary Jay Carney.

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