Official: Changes to Benghazi talking points made by intel community
US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice on State of the Union on September 16
November 19th, 2012
07:32 PM ET

Official: Changes to Benghazi talking points made by intel community

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.

The September 11 attack resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

The unclassified talking points were first developed by the CIA at the request of the House Intelligence Committee, whose members wanted to know what they could say publicly about the Benghazi attack.

Benghazi talking points omitted link to al Qaeda

The initial version included information linking individuals involved in the attack to al Qaeda, according to a senior U.S. official familiar with the drafting of the talking points. But when the document was sent to the rest of the intelligence community for review, there was a decision to change "al Qaeda" to "extremists." The official said the change was made for legitimate intelligence and legal reasons, not for political purposes.

"First, the information about individuals linked to al Qaeda was derived from classified sources," the official said. "Second, when links were so tenuous - as they still are - it makes sense to be cautious before pointing fingers so you don't set off a chain of circular and self-reinforcing assumptions. Third, it is important to be careful not to prejudice a criminal investigation in its early stages."

Some Republican members of Congress suggested the change came from within the Obama administration - from the White House, the Justice Department, or another government agency.

Turner, the spokesman for National Intelligence Director James Clapper, said that was not the case.

"The intelligence community made substantive, analytical changes before the talking points were sent to government agency partners for their feedback," Turner said, referring to the White House, Justice Department, State Department, Pentagon and FBI. "There were no substantive changes made to the talking points after they left the intelligence community," he said.

The House Intelligence Committee was not satisfied with Turner's statement.

"The statement released this evening by the DNI's spokesman regarding how the Intelligence Community's talking points were changed gives a new explanation that differs significantly from information provided in testimony to the Committee last week," said committee spokeswoman Susan Phalen. "Chairman Rogers looks forward to discussing this new explanation with Director Clapper as soon as possible to understand how the DNI reached this conclusion and why leaders of the Intelligence Community testified late last week that they were unaware of who changed the talking points."

The White House on Friday said it made only one change, substituting the word "mission" for "consulate."

The FBI requested a change in language which originally stated the U.S. "knew" Islamic extremists participated in the attack. According to a U.S. intelligence official the wording was changed to "there are indications" Islamic extremists participated.

Obama administration continues explanations on Benghazi decision-making

The drumbeat of criticism began early on with Republicans criticizing the Obama administration for publicly saying the attack grew out of a spontaneous protest against an anti Muslim video on the web even though the Republicans claim the administration knew it was a planned terrorist attack.

The harshest criticism has focused on Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who used the talking points as the basis for comments she made on Sunday talk shows five days after the attack. During her appearances, Rice said a small number of people came to the mission in reaction to demonstrations occurring in Cairo over the anti-Muslim film, but the Benghazi protest was hijacked by armed extremists. She never mentioned terrorists.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, said this isn't about parsing words. "There was some policy decisions made based on the narrative that was not consistent with the intelligence that we had. That's my concern," Rogers said last Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Former CIA Director Petraeus told lawmakers last Friday there were multiple streams of intelligence, some that indicated Ansar al Sharia was behind the attack, according to an official with knowledge of the situation. But other intelligence indicated the violence at the Benghazi mission was inspired by protests in Egypt over the anti Muslim video.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, told CNN on Monday that Petraeus explained why the talking points were changed.

"Gen. Petraeus made it clear that that change was made to protect classified sources of information, not to spin it, not to politicize it and it wasn't done at the direction of the white house. That really ought to be the end of it, but it isn't. So we have to continue to go around this merry go round, but at a certain point when all the facts point in a certain direction, we're going to have to accept them as they are and move on," Schiff said.

CNN's Dana Bash contributed to this report.

Post by:
Filed under: Benghazi • Central Intelligence Agency • CIA • Intelligence • Libya • Libya • ODNI • Peter King • Petraeus • Rep. Mike Rogers • Terrorism
soundoff (2,197 Responses)
  1. Maia Palmerino

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    March 6, 2021 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  2. Lavonna Galey

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    March 4, 2021 at 9:38 am | Reply
  3. Mario Bearce

    Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against hackers? I'm kinda paranoid about losing everything I've worked hard on. Any tips?

    https://proxyti.com/buy/1000-private-proxies/

    March 1, 2021 at 7:47 am | Reply
  4. Cosmedlaserspa

    The othеr day, while І ԝas at wоrk, my cousin stole mү
    apple ipad and tested to see if it cаn survive ɑ 25 foot drop, jᥙst so she can be a youtube sensation.
    My apple ipad іs now broken аnd ѕһe has 83 views. I know
    thiѕ іs totally οff topic ƅut I had to share it with ѕomeone!

    Look into my blog post Cosmedlaserspa

    February 27, 2021 at 1:50 am | Reply
  5. KellyECepeda

    I really like the valuable information you provide inside
    your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and look again here regularly.
    I am quite certain I'll learn a good amount of new stuff
    on this site! Better of luck for the next!

    my web page KellyECepeda

    February 21, 2021 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  6. SocialMedia Services2021

    Do you want get more social network traffic, likes, subscribers? Our Company provide SMM Services that means (Social Media Marketing) that is directly using social network websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to promote a website. High Quality Services / Our prices are the cheapest in the market, starting at $0.01 / 24/7 Support / API Support for panel leaders / Best prices Our Website: https://smmsupreme.com/auth/signup

    https://bit.ly/3iYGuRO

    February 19, 2021 at 6:34 pm | Reply
  7. Best Socialmediaservices

    Best Marketing Services – Cheapest on Market. SMM Supreme is the Top 5 Best Social Media Website in the World. Best Quality-Price Ratio on the market with 714,928 orders until now. – Facebook Fan Page Likes for $4.50/1000 – Instagram Followers for $0.78/1000 – Youtube Views: $1.62/1000 – Twitter followers: $2.10/1000 – Paypal Deposit – Bitcoin Deposit – Fast order processing – 1 Hour Delivery Our Website: https://smmsupreme.com/services

    https://bit.ly/3iVO2Vh

    February 19, 2021 at 2:41 pm | Reply
  8. Drive-20000 Google-Organic-Visitors

    Best Social Media Services and Website Traffic Services 2021: https://www.seoclerk.com/user/jackpower99

    https://www.seoclerk.com/Link-Building/836800/High-DA-PA-50-Do-follow-Forum-Backlinks

    February 16, 2021 at 9:57 pm | Reply
  9. Cheap Private Proxies

    yay google is my king assisted me to find this great website ! .

    https://dreamproxies.com/tag/proxy-resell/

    February 16, 2021 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  10. ebook

    Skulduggery Pleasant Film Little Black Book Used Car
    Values

    my web-site ebook

    February 16, 2021 at 8:27 am | Reply
  11. Lillian Chichester

    Earn 500 a Day With Our Passive Income System Doing These 3 Steps – Step 1: Get our ready made niche websites, Step 2: Setup your Paypal account. Step 3: Run our Unlimited Traffic System from our Free 850 sources of traffic (Approximately 35000 views a day guaranteed). Then in few hours you will start receiving payments without do nothing! More info: https://www.k3reviews.com/2020/08/16/monster-mode-700k/

    https://www.k3reviews.com/

    February 13, 2021 at 12:07 am | Reply
  12. Tambra Chears

    I got two networked blog setting of a single blog in facebook. I want to delete of them. Is there any way to delete only one networked blog keeping the another as it is ?.

    https://ask-cloudkicker.tumblr.com/

    February 10, 2021 at 5:27 pm | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Leave a Reply to Eric


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.