ABC News: State Department scrubbed terrorism details from Benghazi talking points

The mainstream media is slowly discovering the Benghazi scandal, eight months after it happened.

This time, it’s ABC News reporting.


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.

Related: Read the Full Benghazi Talking Point Revisions

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.

[…]Summaries of White House and State Department emails – some of which were first published by Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard – show that the State Department had extensive input into the editing of the talking points.

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.

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.”

The radically leftist BBC now has a story up as well.

Should Hillary Clinton be President after this revelation? This isn’t the first time she’s been caught in a lie and had to recant. The woman embellishes her past in order to appear more experienced and competent than she really is. Period. Like a little child tells lies about himself to seem more grown up.

In case you aren’t following the story, Guy Benson has a list of 12 revelations from the Benghazi hearings in this article.

Here are the ones I thought were most significant:

  1. The Democrats prevented Gregory Hicks from talking to the Congressional investigator.
  2. The Democrats demoted Hicks for objecting to the falsified talking points about the Youtube video.
  3. Ambassador Susan Rice and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lied about the Youtube video and protest.
  4. American forces were ordered to “stand down” rather than intervene to stop the terrorist attack.
  5. Hilary Clinton was aware of the repeated requests for more security in Libya.
  6. The ambassador was put in a dangerous situation at the behest of Hilary Clinton.
  7. No U.S. Marines were present to defend the Consulate during the attacks.
  8. The attack lasted eight hours, so there was ample time for the Obama administration to intervene.
  9. Reduced funding because of “austerity” had nothing to do with the lack of security.

I’ll just post the first two with video, because I blogged about 3 and 4 already.

Point #1:

(1) Murdered US Ambassador Chris Stevens’ second in command, Gregory Hicks, was instructed not to speak with a Congressional investigator by Sec. Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills.  Hicks said he’d “never” faced a similar demand at any point during his distinguished 22-year diplomatic career. When he refused to comply with this request, the State Department dispatched an attorney to act as a “minder,” who insisted on sitting in on all of Hicks’ discussions with members of Congress (higher quality video is available here):


Point #2:

(2) When Hicks began to voice strenuous objections to the administration’s inaccurate talking points with State Department higher-ups, the administrationturned hostile.  After being lavishly praised by the president and the Secretary of State for his performance under fire, Assistant Secretary of State Beth Jones instantly reversed course and launched into a “blistering critique” of Hicks’ leadership.  He was subsequently “effectively demoted.”  Hicks called Rice’s talking points “stunning” and “embarrassing.”


This is important, so be sure and read the whole list.

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