State Dept Deleted CIA References to Terror Groups in Benghazi Talking Points


The central defense of the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi attacks last year is that they shouldn’t be blamed for making so many inaccurate statements about it being a spontaneous protest against an insulting video rather than a premeditated terrorist attack because even the CIA talking points held that it was the former.

Well yeah, because the White House and State Department edited the original talking points to delete any mention of it being a premeditated attack by Islamist militants. ABC News:

White House emails reviewed by ABC News suggest the edits were made with extensive input from the State Department.  The edits included requests from the State Department that references to the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Ansar al-Sharia be deleted as well references to CIA warnings about terrorist threats in Benghazi in the months preceding the attack.

Specifically, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland requested the CIA cut out the following passage:

The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al-Qa’ida in Benghazi and eastern Libya.  These noted that, since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador’s convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks.

Nuland wrote that information should be taken out because it “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either?”

The original CIA draft did say that the attacks appeared to have been “spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo [against the insulting video]” but also that the Agency could confirm the involvement of “Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qaeda.”

References to al-Qaeda-affiliated groups were taken out and were therefore completely absent from administration commentary in the days following the attack.

This does seem to be a case in which the government fiddled with the truth in order to protect itself from public scrutiny. And while Republicans are aghast at the effrontery of the administration, their gripe seems to be entirely political. They see a chance to hurt the Democrats politically in this, even as the important aspects of the Benghazi incident – like the fact that it was blowback resulting from U.S. interventionism – get completely ignored.

2 thoughts on “State Dept Deleted CIA References to Terror Groups in Benghazi Talking Points”

  1. I am hearing the following argument:

    If there was no demonstration before the attack
    Then the video cannot be a factor.

    This isn't a valid argument. Someone can organize an attack based in part or in whole on the video — which was translated into Arabic and re-released the week the attack happened according to Justin Raimondo.

    I'm not saying I think that was the case. I am saying that noone knows what was or was not a factor in the attack. People simply know that an attack happened. How much planning was necessary for the attack given that Libya is in a state of anarchy and all sorts of militias had access to Gaddafi's weapons caches? No one has said. There wasn't a proper investigation of the attack owing to the fact that Libya was and is in a state of anarchy. I don't know if anyone really knows much about the attack at all.

    I also think questionable terminology has entered the lexicon of government agencies and society itself. For example "Al Qaeda affiliates,." or "links to Al Qaeda." Of what worth are such phrases? They are used to describe various groups of yahoos. How can someone be distorting something by removing such phrases when they are distortions of reality in the first place? Removing such hyperbole actually creates a clearer picture of the mess in Libya.

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  2. You should have watched the hearings on C-SPAN.ORG then you could make your own decision.

    After watching C-SPAN, I think, it was arms trafficking to Al-Queda that went wrong. The benghazi consulate wasn’t/isn’t a Consulate. Either Obama or Clinton denied the help. This was also around election time.

    Many bad things here.
    Supporting AlQueda when for the past decade you been pounding in our heads, alqueda is the enemy.

    Sounds like oath breaking and TREASON to me. But then all I did was watch c-span.

  3. This organized regime change in Libya was illegal and like any other US "government" wars was based on lying about anything and everything…, a deceptive idea that comes from state department particularly where Hillary Clinton being the boss. Libyan war was about to stablished a corridor for USA militarism regime into Africa, at the same time.., like in Afghanistan when the country by Bush regime was given to Osama bin laden to become a religious sanctuary for Wahhabis.., Osama bin laden was Wahhabis.., Libya is the same scenario but played differently by Obama administration and Hillary Clinton was orchestrating it. Syria is the very same scenario, Wahhabis as Salafis and other religious extremist are involved in Syria war.., these stone aged religious regimes are the last alternative for US government stoping the growth of a functioning global economic based on humanity, a social functioning democracy based on people's needs.., so there might be a change of color of the political avenue in USA.., but the very same policy is continues., until USA is out of this kind of business engaging the barbarians and apartheid and tyrants and dictatorial regimes exchanging it with democracy. Although what happened to that ambassador and others, that day and who did this or that.., we the people will never hear the truth.., that's the nature of a government where its social economic and social politics based and ruled by vulture capitalism.

  4. Too bad the right wing is hung up on this one incident . There is plenty of evidence to bring against Obama for war crimes for his indiscriminate use of drones. The Republicans waste all their energy on this overworked issue because they too support drones and the same interventionist policies as Obama.

  5. Of course the Republicans are going after this in order to get Hilary in 2016. As Tom Manuel wrote, too bad all sides are just playing politics and neither is addressing the larger issues. They are both parties of greed and war.

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