Fox News reports on the newly released e-mails.
State Department officials repeatedly objected to — and tried to water down — references to Islamic extremist groups and prior security warnings in the administration’s initial internal story-line on the Benghazi attack, according to dozens of emails and notes released by the White House late Wednesday.
[…]Individual emails leading up to that assessment show State officials repeatedly objecting to the intelligence community’s early version of events.
The early versions stated that “Islamic extremists with ties to Al Qaeda” participated in the assault and discussed links to militant group Ansar al Sharia — and referenced prior attacks against western targets in Benghazi, as well as intelligence warnings.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland complained that she had “serious concerns” about “arming members of Congress” to make assertions the administration was not making. “In same vein, why do we want Hill to be fingering Ansar al Sharia, when we aren’t doing that ourselves until we have investigation results … and the penultimate point could be abused by Members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings so why do we want to feed that either? Concerned …”
She also wrote that the line saying the administration knows there were extremists among the demonstrators “will come back to us at podium,” voicing concern that some would question how the administration knows that. She said she would “need answers” if that line is used.
In response to her concerns, Assistant Secretary of State David S. Adams voiced agreement. He said the line about prior incidents “will read to members like we had been repeatedly warned.”
The emails show Petraeus’ deputy Mike Morell involved in circulating revised points. In one email, he too noted the State Department had “deep concerns” about referencing prior “warnings.”
A page of hand-written notes showed Morell scratching out mentions of Al Qaeda, the experience of fighters in Libya, Islamic extremists and a warning to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on the eve of the attacks of calls for a demonstration. Ultimately, all of that was scrubbed from the talking points. The final version said “extremists” participated, without mentioning prior attacks and warnings in the region.
This editing of the talking points is what Barack Obama called “a sideshow”. Not worth talking about.
The motivation behind the State Department’s editing was pretty clearly to avoid identifying the attackers as Muslim terrorists. The timing of the election was undoubtedly a factor in the decision making. They edited the talking points in order to create the impression for voters that Obama had been effective at reining in terrorism with his weak foreign policy and appeasement. Democrats are weak on foreign policy. They do ignore warnings. They do prefer to blame America for the bad actions of Muslim extremists. This approach does not deter aggression. Rather than admit their mistake and toughen up, the Democrats preferred to cover up the facts. And they won the election.
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