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Benghazi Emails Contradict White House Claims

From the vindicated Stephen Hayes at the Weekly Standard:

Benghazi Emails Directly Contradict White House Claims

By STEPHEN F. HAYES | May 16, 2013

The White House on Wednesday released 94 pages of emails between top administration and intelligence officials who helped shape the talking points about the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that the CIA would provide to policymakers in both the legislative and executive branches.

It looks like the White House decided to ‘flood the zone,’ by putting these emails out while there is so much other news going on, there will be little coverage of the details. Oh, and Obama’s claims to the contrary, ‘there is a lot of there, there.’

In fact, at the very least it shows that Jake Tapper at CNN was wrong, and Steve Hayes and Jonathan Karl at ABC were right.

The documents… directly contradict claims by White House press secretary Jay Carney and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the revisions of those talking points were driven by the intelligence community and show heavy input from top Obama administration officials, particularly those at the State Department…

By the way, we were told for eight months that these emails could not be released because they would ‘hurt national security.’ Which seems to be yet another lie.

However the White House still did not release all of the emails in question. According to reports there are more than 1,000 emails involved. So they cherry picked what they released.

The initial CIA changes softened some of the language about the participants in the Benghazi assault – from “Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda” to “Islamic extremists.” But CIA officials also added bullet points about the possible participation of Ansar al Sharia, an al Qaeda-linked jihadist group, and previous warnings about the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi. Those additions came out after the talking points were sent to “the interagency,” where the CIA’s final draft was further stripped down to little more than boilerplate. The half dozen references to terrorists – both in Benghazi and more generally – all but disappeared. Gone were references to al Qaeda, Ansar al Sharia, jihadists, Islamic extremists, etc. The only remaining mention was a note that “extremists” had participated in the attack.

As striking as what appears in the email traffic is what does not. There is no mention of the YouTube video that would become a central part of the administration’s explanation of the attacks to the American people until a brief mention in the subject line of emails coming out of an important meeting where further revisions were made

Meanwhile Obama’s Benghazi scapegoat, Nakoula Nakoula sits in solitary confinement a jail in California, as a de facto American political prisoner.

Elsewhere, CIA officials seemed to understand that the document had been stripped of most of its content. An email from an official with the CIA’s Office of Terrorism Analysis, the office that drafted the original version of the talking points, signed off on the final version but seemed to understand that the new version wouldn’t please those who had requested it. “They are fine with me,” this CIA official wrote. “But, pretty sure HPSCI [the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] won’t like them. :-)”

When Petraeus received the rewritten talking points, he objected. “Frankly, I’d just as soon not use this,” he wrote to a legislative affairs staffer. But he declined to put up a fight…

Lest we forget, Petraeus might not have been in any position to fight the White House, if they knew about his affair.

And we have this from the also vindicated Jonathan Karl, at ABC News:

The Benghazi Emails: Talking Points Changed at State Dept.’s Request

By JONATHAN KARL and CHRIS GOOD | May 15, 2013

After months of demands from Republicans in Congress, the White House has released emails related to what the administration said in the days after the terrorist attack in Benghazi.

The emails confirm the ABC News report that the so-called "talking points" written by the CIA on the attack underwent extensive revisions – 12 versions – and that substantial changes were made after the State Department expressed concerns.

Nah, nah, nah.

The early versions of the talking points, drafted entirely by the CIA, included references to the al Qaeda affiliate Ansar al-Sharia and to previous CIA warnings about terror threats in Benghazi. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland expressed concerns about including those references in the talking points.

In one email, previously reported by ABC News, Nuland said that including the CIA warnings "could be used by Members [of Congress] to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings so why do we want to feed that? Concerned …"

After some changes were made, Nuland was still not satisfied. "These don’t resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership," Nuland wrote…

Again, that means Hillary, In fact, it is clear that Nuland was always speaking for Mrs. Clinton.

[T]he State Department had also raised concerns about mentions that the CIA had produced material — before the attack — on the threat of al-Qaeda-linked extremists in Benghazi. In addition, State expressed concerns about pointing to Ansar al Sharia before the FBI/Justice Department had concluded its investigation of the attack.

"I’m with Toria," wrote then Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs David S. Adams, agreeing with Nuland’s concerns about a section on the CIA’s intelligence on Benghazi extremists. "That last bullet especially will read to members [of Congress] like we had been repeatedly warned."

Another email, with the sender’s name redacted, indicates concern about accuracy that the CIA "warned" about calls for jihadists to storm the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, a word that was originally included in the CIA’s talking points. CIA press official Shawn Turner expressed the same concern about the word. "I’ve been very careful not to say we issued a warning," Turner wrote, before State Department officials raised its concerns…

So the State Department lied to Congress. But apparently that is only a crime if you are a baseball player or a Republican.

The following sections were crossed out and removed from later drafts:

    "On 10 September the Agency notified Embassy Cairo of social media reports calling for a demonstration and encouraging jihadists to break into the Embassy."

    "… as to who is responsible for the violence, although the crowd almost certainly was a mix of individuals. That being said, there are indications that Islamic extremists participated in the violent demonstrations."

    "The wide availability of weapons and experienced fighters in Libya almost certainly contributed to the lethality of the attacks."

    "The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al-Qaeda in Benghazi and eastern Libya. Since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interest in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador’s convoy. We cannot rule out that individuals had previously surveilled the US facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks."

One official, whose name was redacted from the email chain, responded to the changes: "They are fine with me. But, pretty sure HPSCI won’t like them :-)" HPSCI refers to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, members of which had requested the talking points.

Oh, those are just edits of style, not substance.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, May 16th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Benghazi Emails Contradict White House Claims”

  1. Petronius says:

    This opens up a juicy new line of inquiry.

    We need to see the “numerous” pre-attack warning memos and threat assessments generated by the CIA.

    We need to see everything else that pre-dated the CIA’s first talking points memo.

  2. Noyzmakr says:

    Just for the record:

    Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is in the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) – La Tuna
    in Anthony, Texas. It is a low security facility housing male inmates.

    FCI La Tuna is located on the Texas and New Mexico border, 12 miles north of the city limits of El Paso, off Interstate 10, and on State Highway 20.

    He’s schedualed to be released Sept. 26, 2013


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