Team Obama edits to Benghazi talking points: the smoking gun?
The White House refused to concede on Friday that the administration's edits to a set of 'talking points' about deadly attacks on a US compound in Benghazi, Libya, were more than cosmetic. That is debatable.
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Karl Rove’s political action group American Crossroads put out an ad Friday hitting Mrs. Clinton for her Benghazi actions, charging among other things that State Department whistle-blower Gregory Hicks was demoted and “intimidated” for speaking out about the tragedy.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures What happened at the US Consulate in Libya?
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Likely 2016 GOP candidate Rand Paul wrote an opinion piece, published Friday in The Washington Times, that said Clinton “should never hold high office again,” because of allegations that she ignored requests for increased security for US diplomats in Libya, among other things.
As to the e-mails revealed Friday, some Democrats noted that each version of the talking points said the demonstrations in Benghazi were “spontaneously inspired by the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the US Consulate.”
This was why UN Ambassador Susan Rice said initially on TV that the attacks were “spontaneous,” writes left-leaning Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent.
“This confirms that the version of events the administration initially offered was, in fact, grounded in the intelligence community’s assessment at the moment (which turned out to be wrong),” writes Mr. Sargent.
But even some longtime proponents of President Obama say the exchanges dealing with the talking points show some evidence of political spinning in the wake of the Benghazi attack.
Mr. Sullivan added that the e-mails show that another reason the talking points were edited was a legitimate desire to not tip off the jihadists about how much the US already knew.
“These are venial sins, not mortal ones,” wrote Sullivan of the e-mail edits. And he accused the GOP of “a grotesque over-reaction – for transparently political purposes.”
It’s also possible there’s a nonpolitical explanation for the edits: They stemmed not so much from political concerns as bureaucratic ones.
Victoria Nuland, a 30-year veteran of the Foreign Service who has worked for officials from both parties, including Vice President Dick Cheney, may have been protecting her department, not her current employer. Most of the references she sought to have deleted were veiled or not-so-veiled CIA charges that State had flubbed up, notes the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, Glenn Kessler.
“Further investigation may make the bureaucratic explanation moot. But, in Washington, one should never underestimate the importance of internal conflict between agencies,” Mr. Kessler writes.
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