State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland
Fresh evidence has emerged that senior Regime officials knowingly misled the country about what had happened in the days and weeks before and after the attack.
The Weekly Standard has the exclusive story:
The Weekly Standard has obtained a timeline briefed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence detailing the heavy substantive revisions made to the CIA’s talking points, just six weeks before the 2012 presidential election, and additional information about why the changes were made and by whom.
As intelligence officials pieced together the puzzle of events unfolding in Libya, they concluded even before the assaults had ended that al Qaeda-linked terrorists were involved. Senior administration officials, however, sought to obscure the emerging picture and downplay the significance of attacks that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. The frantic process that produced the changes to the talking points took place over a 24-hour period just one day before Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, made her now-famous appearances on the Sunday television talk shows. The discussions involved senior officials from the State Department, the National Security Council, the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the White House.
Last September at Big Government, John Sexton highlighted four attacks that had preceded the Benghazi assault which he found mostly in British news sources:
- A bomb thrown at the convoy of the head of the UN Mission to Libya during a visit to Benghazi.
- An RPG fired at the Red Cross HQ in Benghazi in May.
- A bomb thrown over the fence of our consulate on June 6.
- An RPG fired at the convoy of the British ambassador a week later, also in Benghazi.
The original Regime talking points on the morning of the 14th referred to these attacks according to the Weekly Standard report.
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 [sic] previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks.
By the next day, all of that information had been removed because the State Department was worried it would be criticized, and with a election only a few months away, they couldn’t have that.
an individual identified in the House report only as a “senior State Department official” responded to raise “serious concerns” about the draft. That official, whom The Weekly Standard has confirmed was State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland, worried that members of Congress would use the talking points to criticize the State Department for “not paying attention to Agency warnings.”
In an attempt to address those concerns, CIA officials cut all references to Ansar al Sharia and made minor tweaks. But in a follow-up email at 9:24 p.m., Nuland wrote that the problem remained and that her superiors—she did not say which ones—were unhappy. The changes, she wrote, did not “resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership,” and State Department leadership was contacting National Security Council officials directly. Moments later, according to the House report, “White House officials responded by stating that the State Department’s concerns would have to be taken into account.” One official—Ben Rhodes, The Weekly Standard is told, a top adviser to President Obama on national security and foreign policy—further advised the group that the issues would be resolved in a meeting of top administration officials the following morning at the White House.
Which superior could she have been talking about? What difference does it make, huh?
There is little information about what happened at that meeting of the Deputies Committee. But according to two officials with knowledge of the process, Mike Morrell, deputy director of the CIA, made broad changes to the draft afterwards. Morrell cut all or parts of four paragraphs of the six-paragraph talking points—148 of its 248 words (see Version 2 above). Gone were the reference to “Islamic extremists,” the reminders of agency warnings about al Qaeda in Libya, the reference to “jihadists” in Cairo, the mention of possible surveillance of the facility in Benghazi, and the report of five previous attacks on foreign interests.
What remained—and would be included in the final version of the talking points—was mostly boilerplate about ongoing investigations and working with the Libyan government, together with bland language suggesting that the “violent demonstrations”—no longer “attacks”—were spontaneous responses to protests in Egypt and may have included generic “extremists”.
More via Ace:
Here, Nuland lies to the press — a FoxNews reporter — claiming that Susan Rice’s Sunday Talking Points accurately reflected the government’s “initial assessment,” despite the fact that Victoria Nuland personally had the “initial assessment” changed to suit her “superiors'” political worries.
James Rosen five minutes in: