The White House is choosing to focus more on what former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell has written than what he said in an interview aired Monday on Fox News.
Morell was asked about the White House assertion that a memo about the notorious Sunday show talking points was not specifically referring to the Benghazi terrorist attack, but on unrest in the region, which included riots outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
“I don’t believe that. I believe it was about Benghazi,” Morell said on Fox News Monday. “Because the second tick in those talking points was something to the order of, we need to — we need to bring to justice those people who have harmed Americans. And the only place that happened was Benghazi.”
Fox News reporter Kevin Corke asked during Tuesday's White House press briefing whether the White House actually misled reporters and the public.
“My reaction is that Mr. Morell makes clear that the talking points surrounding the Benghazi attack were not politicized,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. “What he wrote is that there is no such conspiracy, as I’ve already explained, and there is no evidence to support such a theory. No committee of Congress that has studied this has come to this conclusion.”
Morell has a new book out that covers Benghazi, among other things.
“He went so far as to call Benghazi the ‘poster child of the intrusion of politics into national security,’” Earnest said. “He went on to say ‘I believe Benghazi is an example of what is wrong with American politics, politicians focused on scoring points rather than working together to advance the interest of our country.’ And with that, I would wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Morell.”
Corke followed, “Yesterday he said that Jay [Carney, the former White House spokesman] misled the public and reporters in suggesting that memo was not politicized. Was he lying then or is he lying now?”
Earnest stayed focused on the book.
“The point that Mr. Morell makes in his book is the relevant one, which is it is false to suggest that this tragedy has been politicized by the administration,” he said.