In a second day of contentious questions about newly revealed emails showing White House officials seeking to blame the Benghazi attacks on an anti-Muslim video, White House press secretary Jay Carney repeatedly referred to “conspiracy theories” to deflect inquiries.
“The conspiracy theories keep falling apart,” Carney said Thursday.
He directly attacked Fox News in response to a question
“It doesn't change the fundamental facts about the so-called talking points, which despite great efforts by your news organization and others have proven not to be a conspiracy,” Carney said.
Carney also doubled down on the assertion that the new emails weren't about Benghazi, but rather unrest in the Middle East at the time, which he insisted was about the anti-Muslim video produced in the United States even if the Benghazi attack was not.
He accused Republicans of leaking “false information,” and said the CIA talking points that were released to the public disproved the administration tried to mislead the public.
“As I said and others, it was based on what we believed to be true at the time,” Carney said. “There was caveating all the time about the fact that more information might be coming available. What hasn't changed has been the effort by Republicans to claim a conspiracy when they haven't been able to find one.”
Documents released through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch found that White House officials, namely national security spokesman Ben Rhodes, helped promote the video in talking points for then-United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice before she went on several Sunday morning network news programs.
“The documents released through a FOIA request by the State Department that included the email that you're talking about are explicitly about the broader areas separate from the attack on Benghazi," Carney said.
Fox News' Ed Henry asked, “If it's not about Benghazi, why turn it over in a Benghazi suit?"
Carney responded, “You'd have to ask the State Department about responding to FOIA requests --again, you can just read it and decide for yourself. As many people have now said and written, this is a conspiracy theory in search of a conspiracy theory.”
Carney stressed again that the video was the cause of the Cairo protest and other unrest.
“I think it's fair to say that most people remember there were demonstrations around the region in reaction to what people felt was an offensive video. And there were demonstrations outside of U.S. facilities because the video was produced inside the United States,” he said. “Again, it's pretty clear if you read it that that's what it's all about. When it comes to the connection between the protest in Cairo and what happened in Benghazi, that's drawn directly from talking points produced by the intelligence community.”