Nov 20, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
This is very convenient to Obama and Hillary, and is therefor very fishy to me. It has all the earmarks of being an Obama lie floated to the media. In fact, all CBS is unnamed “intelligence source” meaning this report has zero credibility. Notably, the source blames a ghost, as he won’t say who at DNI made the changes. You will be hearing about it for days, however.
(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 Amassador 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.
There has been considerable discussion about who made the changes to the talking points that Rice stuck to in her television appearances on Sept. 16 (video), five days after the attack that killed American Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, and three other U.S. nationals.
Republicans have accused her of making misleading statements by referring to the assault as a “spontaneous” demonstration by extremists. Some have suggested she used the terminology she did for political reasons.
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”.
The head of the DNI is James Clapper, an Obama appointee. He did ultimately review the points before they were given to Ambassador Rice and members of the House intelligence committee on Sept. 15. They were compiled the day before.
Brennan says her source wouldn’t confirm who in the agency suggested the final edits which were signed off on by all intelligence agencies.
Another source, a senior U.S. official familiar with the drafting of the talking points, tells CBS News the “controversy this word choice has caused came as a surprise.”
“The points were not, as has been insinuated by some, edited to minimize the role of extremists, diminish terrorist affiliations, or play down that this was an attack,” the official tells CBS News, adding that there were “legitimate intelligence and legal issues to consider, as is almost always the case when explaining classified assessments publicly.”
“Most people understand that saying ‘extremists’ were involved in a direct assault on the mission isn’t shying away from the idea of terrorist involvement,” added the official. “Because of the various elements involved in the attack, the term extremist was meant to capture the range of participants.”