By Pam Benson
The White House has agreed to turn over to the Senate Intelligence Committee additional e-mails and intelligence reports related to the lethal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, according to a congressional source.
The source said some of the materials have already been received by the panel and others "will be provided shortly."
Republican senators have threatened to hold up the nomination of John Brennan as CIA director until they receive e-mails exchanged between the White House and the spy agency concerning public talking points about the deadly attack last September 11.
U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice relied on those talking points to explain the Obama administration's version of events several days after the armed assault. Her televised comments ignited an election-year controversy, fueled by Republicans, over whether the administration was being truthful about the nature of the attack.
By Jill Dougherty
Secretary of State John Kerry will highlight the priority of protecting diplomats overseas during his ceremonial swearing-in on Wednesday.
The safety of America's diplomats has been scrutinized since Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in a terror attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, last September.
"This will be front and center as we move forward," agency spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
Kerry will take the ceremonial oath at the State Department. He was officially sworn in last Friday.
By Tim Lister
Much of the focus of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s appearance on Capitol Hill Wednesday was on whether her department failed to appreciate and respond to the risks that led to the Benghazi attack - and whether it had the resources to confront such risks.
And, of course, on whether in the immediate aftermath, the administration characterized the attack candidly and accurately.
But the hearings also illustrated how the United States is scrambling to catch up with new realities in North Africa – and how it faces a long struggle in a new arena of instability.
Clinton acknowledged that “the Arab revolutions have scrambled power dynamics and shattered security forces across the region.”
Looking back to her confirmation as secretary of state four years ago, Clinton said, “I don’t think anybody thought [Egyptian President Hosni] Mubarak would be gone, [Libya’s Moammar] Gadhafi would be gone, [Tunisian leader Zine El Abidine] Ben Ali would be gone.”
By Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister
More than three months after the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, not a single person has been charged in connection with the assault.
Most, if not all, of those questioned in Libya since the attack have been released.
A Libyan source with knowledge of the investigation, who did not want to be identified because of the sensitivities involved in the probe, told CNN there are indications that the perpetrators of the attack came from beyond the Benghazi area and slipped away immediately afterward. The source says it is possible the attackers came from the city of Derna or surrounding areas, about 120 miles (200 km) to the east, which remains a stronghold of militant Islamist and jihadist groups.
The September 11 attack killed four Americans, including Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya. The State Department's independent report on security lapses in Benghazi did not focus on who was responsible as part of its mandate, review leader Ambassador Thomas Pickering said Wednesday, but the FBI continues to investigate.
By Elise Labott
Three State Department officials, including two who oversaw security decisions at the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, resigned in the wake of a review of security failures there, senior State Department officials told CNN Wednesday.
The independent review of the September 11 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi released Tuesday cites "systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies" at the State Department.
The attacks killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
The failures resulted in a security plan "that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place," the 39-page unclassified version of the report concludes.
Despite all the criticism, the board found no U.S. government employee had engaged in misconduct or ignored responsibilities, and it did not recommend any individual be disciplined.
Eric Boswell, assistant secretary of diplomatic security, and Charlene Lamb, deputy assistant secretary of state for international programs, submitted their resignations, a senior official said. A third official in the Near East Affairs bureau also resigned, the official said.
Boswell and Lamb oversaw security for the Benghazi mission. Lamb testified before Congress about the security precautions. Documents show Lamb denied repeated requests for additional security in Libya.
By Dan Lothian
After facing criticism from Republican lawmakers surrounding her characterization of the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice will hold meetings on Capitol Hill about Libya, an administration official said Monday.
Rice will meet with Sen. John McCain on Tuesday morning, a Senate source said.FULL STORY
By Pam Benson
The intelligence community - not the White House, State Department or Justice Department - was responsible for the substantive changes made to the talking points distributed for government officials who spoke publicly about the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, the spokesman for the director of national intelligence said Monday.
The unclassified talking points on Libya, developed several days after the the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, were not substantively changed by any agency outside of the intelligence community, according to the spokesman, Shawn Turner.
Republican criticism of the talking points intensified last Friday following a closed door hearing with former CIA Director David Petraeus.
Rep. Peter King, R-New York, told reporters after the hearing that the original talking parts drafted by the CIA had been changed and it was unclear who was responsible.
"The original talking points were much more specific about al Qaeda involvement and yet final ones just said indications of extremists," King said.
By Jennifer Rizzo, with reporting from Pam Benson
Former CIA Director David Petraeus testified on Capitol Hill on Friday that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was an act of terrorism committed by al Qaeda-linked militants.
That's according to Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who spoke to reporters after the closed hearing, which lasted an hour and 20 minutes.
The account Petraeus gave was different from the description the Obama administration gave on September 14, King said.
Then, the attack was described as "spontaneous," the result of a protest against an anti-Muslim film that got out of control outside the compound.
Petraeus told lawmakers Friday that he had discussed the possibility of it being a terrorist attack in his initial briefing in September, according to King.
"He had told us that this was a terrorist attack and there were terrorists involved from the start," King said. "I told him, my questions, I had a very different recollection of that (earlier account)," he said. "The clear impression we (lawmakers) were given was that the overwhelming amount of evidence was that it arose out of a spontaneous demonstration and it was not a terrorist attack."
The "spontaneous" adjective was "minimized" during Petraeus' testimony Friday, King said.
With reporting from Suzanne Kelly and Pam Benson
While affairs may be commonplace in Washington, when they involve the director of the CIA, things can take on a different tone.
A U.S. official has said there was no breach of national security as a result of David Petraeus' affair, but that hasn't stopped discussion that Paula Broadwell could have gained access to classified information as a result of what she has routinely described as "unprecedented access" to Petraeus.
That discussion seemed to gain momentum Monday thanks to comments Broadwell made in a speech last month at the University of Denver.
"I don't know if a lot of you have heard this, but the CIA annex had actually taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to get these prisoners back," Broadwell said.
A senior intelligence official told CNN on Monday, "These detention claims are categorically not true. Nobody was ever held at the annex before, during, or after the attacks."
Broadwell's source for that previously unpublished bit of information remains unclear, and there's no evidence so far that it came from Petraeus. Administration officials have said the Benghazi assault was a terrorist attack. FULL POST
By Jill Dougherty and Mike Mount
With the election over, the Obama administration is releasing more information to Congress and journalists about the deadly attack on the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya. Post-election, the questions of the Obama administration's handling of the attacks continue, and the Pentagon and State Department Friday released information to try to further clarify decisions made before, during and after the attacks.
The information is the latest attempt by the various U.S. agencies to explain their role in the attacks which killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. After being bombarded with requests from congressional committees for documents about the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, the State Department said Friday it has handed over a number of documents to Congress for review.
And Friday afternoon the Pentagon released and hour-by-hour timeline highlighting when Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his senior commanders were told of the attacks and when decisions were made to move forces to assist. The information shows that the scramble to respond was not even close to being in a time frame to help fend off the attack, with special units only getting in position a half-day after the attack ended.
The Pentagon's timeline does not uncover any discrepancies from what has been said publicly by Panetta, but it does show that the first U.S. FULL POST