The Obama administration, it seems, has been unable to get its story on Benghazi straight from day one. In the days after the deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. Mission in Libya, UN Ambassador Susan Rice and other administration officials blamed the attack on an anti-Muslim YouTube video despite intelligence suggesting it was terrorism.
Rice went on a number of Sunday shows nearly a week after the attack and, reading from “talking points,” mislead the American public, unintentionally or not. It was later discovered that Rice’s CIA talking points were edited to remove references to terrorism and al-Qaeda. The Obama administration has since provided five separate answers as to why the edits were made in the first place.
BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski provides the list:
1. References were removed to not tip off al-Qaeda and were substituted with “extremists,” according to David Petraeus.
From left, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, CIA Director David Petraeus, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, before the House Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats. (Credit: AP)
2. The links to al-Qaeda were too “tenuous” to make public by DNI because the source wasn’t trusted.
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper leaves a briefing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill in Washington on November 15, 2012. Officials attended closed door briefings before members of House and Senate intelligence committees to speak about the attack on a US consulate in Benghazi. (Credit: AFP/Getty Images)
3. “The talking points were debated and edited by a collective of experts from around the IC,” not just DNI, according to a DNI spokesman.
4. The CIA told Senators McCain, Graham, and Ayotte the FBI removed references to al-Qaeda from the talking points “to prevent compromising an ongoing criminal investigation.”
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, center, flanked by fellow committee members, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., left, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., right, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, following a meeting with UN Ambassador Susan Rice. Rice met with lawmakers to discuss statements she made about the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that left the ambassador and three other Americans dead. (Credit: AP)
5. The CIA later called Senators McCain, Graham, and Ayotte back, saying they had misspoke to them and that they — not the FBI — had edited the talking points.
Acting CIA Director Michael Morell, center, arrives for a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who could find her name in contention as early as this week to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and other prominent senators, have said they would block the nomination of Rice. (Credit: AP)