The U.S. Senate released a report on Monday that blames the FBI, CIA and other intelligence agencies — but not the White House — for the misinformation allegedly contained in talking points that explained the details of the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate diplomatic in Benghazi, Libya.
U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, Libya attack.
The Democrat-dominated Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee issued a report that said the White House was only responsible for a “minor change” in the White House talking points.
A number of GOP lawmakers questioned whether the presidential staff rewrote the talking points for political reasons, but they were practically silenced by the Democratic leadership in the Senate and by some so-called moderate Republicans.
“Once again, the Obama administration is being let off the hook in another scandal that would have caused a media frenzy in a GOP presidency. Once again, we have evidence of a biased news media coupled with a spineless opposition party,” said former law enforcement and intelligence officer Sid Franes.
The committee also blasted the director of national intelligence for stonewalling the panel of lawmakers by holding back a promised timeline of the talking points changes.
The ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said she had used the talking points to say in television interviews on Sept.16, 2012, that it may have been a protest that got out of hand.
Rice’s bogus explanation forced her to forgo the nomination as Hillary Clinton’s replacement in the new Obama term as President. Obama instead nominated Democratic Sen John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who is expected to be easily confirmed since he’s friends with most senators in both political parties.
Officials at the State Department in December acknowledged weaknesses in security as well as errors in judgment exposed in a scathing independent report on the assault.
The Senate report said that on Sept. 19, 2012, eight days after the attack, National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen told the Homeland committee that the four Americans died “in the course of a terrorist attack.”
At the same time, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the department stood by the assessment of the CIA and other intelligence agencies such as NSA.
The next day, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stated, “It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.”
Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton also used the term “terrorist attack” on Sept. 21, 2012.
Olsen’s acknowledgement was important, the report said, because talking points prepared by intelligence officials the previous week had undergone major changes.
A line saying “we know” that individuals associated with al-Qaeda or its affiliates participated in the attacks was changed to say, “There are indications that extremists participated.”
The talking points dropped the reference to al-Qaeda and its affiliates altogether. In addition, a reference to “attacks” was changed to “demonstrations”.