White House denies altering Libya script
ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE — The White House did not heavily alter talking points about the attacks on U.S. missions in Libya, an official said on Saturday.
“If there were adjustments made to them within the intelligence community, that's common, and that's something they would have done themselves,” Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser, told reporters. “The only edit ... made by the White House was the factual edit as to how to refer to the facility.”
After a closed-door hearing with former CIA Director David Petraeus on Friday, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said that unclassified talking points prepared by the CIA for use by lawmakers about the Sept. 11 attack originally pointed specifically to al-Qaida involvement. King said they were edited before being cleared for use.
The White House and the State Department changed references to the diplomatic facility as a “consulate,” Rhodes said, “because the consulate in Benghazi was not formally a consulate. Other than that,we worked off the points that were provided by the intelligence community, so I can't speak to any other edits that may have been made.”
The assault on the U.S. mission and nearby CIA annex in Benghazi has turned into a flash point between Democratic President Obama and Republicans.
Republicans accuse the White House and in particular the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, of misleading the public just after the attack by suggesting the assault was a spontaneous act instead of a planned terrorist operation. The Obama administration denies misleading anyone and says it discussed information about the Benghazi tragedy as it came in.
“What I can say is those points, and what Susan said, indicated that we believed extremists were involved in this attack,” Rhodes said.
When asked on Fox News on Saturday who might have made the edits, King said he did not know.
“That's why it's important to find out why it was done. It could be anywhere in the Defense Department, the State Department, the Justice Department, the White House,” King said. “(We need) to find out why it was done, what the purpose of it was.”
He added: “I have my own beliefs, that for whatever reasons, the administration honestly believes that the war against al-Qaida is pretty much over, and that's the message that they wanted to present. But on the other hand, they may have some valid reason. I think we have to look at it.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Web-savvy terrorists have success luring U.S. recruits with social media
- Stylish, inexpensive dress takes television newsrooms by storm
- Congress agrees to transportation bill
- House votes to thwart power plant regulations
- Chicago mayor fires police chief in wake of video release
- Special ops force to head to Iraq to carry out raids on ISIS
- Bill to end warrantless reading of Americans’ emails under review by House panel
- Chicago mayor ousts police superintendent
- Retired general, Obama adviser says re-election bid skewed response to early intel on growth of ISIS
- GOP senator may back partial repeal of Obamacare core
- U.S. better prepared for attacks in Africa, member of Benghazi panel says