Just out from CBS, sources are saying that the Director of National Intelligence was the office responsible for editing the talking points.
CBS News) WASHINGTON – CBS News has learned that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) cut specific references to “al Qaeda” and “terrorism” from the unclassified talking points given to Ambassador Susan Rice on the Benghazi consulate attack – with the agreement of the CIA and FBI. The White House or State Department did not make those changes.
Clearly CBS is trying its best to insulate Obama from culpability and deflect the real issue to make it sound like this is really not a scandal. CBS does not do that good a job at that with this news:
However, an intelligence source tells CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan the links to al Qaeda were deemed too “tenuous” to make public, because there was not strong confidence in the person providing the intelligence. CIA Director David Petraeus, however, told Congress he agreed to release the information — the reference to al Qaeda — in an early draft of the talking points, which were also distributed to select lawmakers.
“The intelligence community assessed from the very beginning that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.” DNI spokesman Shawn Turner tells CBS News. That information was shared at a classified level — which Rice, as a member of President Obama’s cabinet, would have been privy to.
An intelligence source says the talking points were passed from the CIA to the DNI, where the substantive edits were made, and then to FBI, which made more edits as part of “standard procedure”.
Let us parse this a bit as I parsed denial previously. CBS is first providing cover for the administration. They, as Obama has before, are laying blame for the lies on the intelligence. What CBS conveniently leaves out is that while the DNI edited out terrorists from the talking points, the DNI is not being blamed for editing IN the idea that a protest occurred and violence was the fault of a video. Petraeus made it clear last week that the CIA knew there was no protest and the violence was not related to an escalating protest due to the video. The CIA knew from the beginning that this was an organized terrorist attack. CBS also makes it clear that even Rice was aware the CIA suspected it to be a terrorist attack.
All the media is trying to do here is again change the subject. The subject is why security was pulled from Libya, why the Ambassador had to go to Benghazi (a known terrorist hot bed) without security to meet a Turkish official, and why the administration blamed a video that no one in the intelligence community ever blamed.
The fact that no heads have rolled over all of this – no firings, no resignations – is infuriating.
Senator John McCain responded to the news today that James Clapper had edited the intelligence talking points:
Today, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) released a statement about reports suggesting that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence had removed references to al Qaeda from talking points given to UN Ambassador Susan Rice about the terrorist attack in Benghazi. Rice infamously went on national television some five times to claim that the attacks in Benghazi were spontaneous and driven by a YouTube video.
McCain’s statement is rife with frustration:
I am somewhat surprised and frustrated to read reports that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was responsible for removing references to Al-Qaeda from the unclassified talking points about the Benghazi attack that Ambassador Susan Rice and other officials used in the early days after September 11, 2012. I participated in hours of hearings in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last week regarding the events in Benghazi, where senior intelligence officials were asked this very question, and all of them – including the Director of National Intelligence himself – told us that they did not know who made the changes. Now we have to read the answers to our questions in the media. There are many other questions that remain unanswered. But this latest episode is another reason why many of us are so frustrated with, and suspicious of, the actions of this Administration when it comes to the Benghazi attack.
If the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, himself testified that he did not know who made the changes to the Benghazi talking points, somebody is lying. Clapper should be subpoenaed immediately.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive.