Since September, Republicans have claimed the Obama administration covered up the truth about the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya by altering the talking points Susan Rice used on the Sunday morning talk shows. To bolster the story, Republicans misquoted or significantly embellished the emails officials used to draft Rice’s remarks, the CBS Evening News reported Thursday.
CBS News’ Major Garrett confirmed that it was a GOP source who leaked the altered emails.
The miscast quotes affect at least two emails that include a State Department spokesperson and a White House deputy adviser — the two parties GOP lawmakers insist were trying to engage a cover-up on behalf of the Obama administration to protect the president’s chances of re-election.
A leaked email adds new language to State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland’s email, including a specific reference to al-Qaeda:
“The penultimate point is a paragraph talking about all the previous warnings provided by the Agency (CIA) about al-Qaeda’s presence and activities of al-Qaeda.”
The actual email read:
“The penultimate point could be abused by members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings.”
A leaked email written by deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes suggests that he asked for the final draft to remove references to warnings about specific attacks, a demand made by the State Department:
“We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation.”
But the actual email did not mention the State Department:
“We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.”
Since the congressional hearings last week, the White House on Wednesday released a hundred pages of emails from after the consulate attack. The full version undermines already-thin accusations that this is a White House scandal.