By Pam Benson
Senate Intelligence Committee members will have access Tuesday to the e-mails associated with the development of the intelligence community's talking points on the attack at the U.S. mission in Benghazi, a committee aide said.
The Obama administration will provide the e-mails for members and some committee staff to read, take notes and ask questions in the committee's classified hearing room, the aide said. Members will not get copies of the documents.
Republican senators have threatened to hold up the nomination of John Brennan to be the next CIA director until they receive e-mails exchanged between the White House and the CIA concerning the public talking points used by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice for her appearances on Sunday talk shows the weekend after the September attack.
The CIA's original draft of those talking points linked people associated with al Qaeda to the attack, which killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans. But the final version changed al Qaeda to extremists. Some Republicans have accused the administration of deliberately downplaying the attack, which occurred less than two months before the presidential election.
The lawmakers have been unsatisfied with what they say is conflicting information from the administration about who was responsible for the change in the talking points, even though the CIA eventually said it changed them during interagency discussions to protect classified information and for legal reasons.
Two of the lawmakers who have demanded the e-mails, Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain, are not members of the Intelligence Committee. It is unclear if arrangements will be made for them to have access to the communications.