Benghazi talking points were edited 12 times, report finds


Sen. James Risch (R-ID), Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) listen to testimony during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the September 11th attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, on Capitol Hill, December 20, 2012 in Washington, DC.


Drew Angerer

The talking points delivered by US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice in the aftermath of the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi last September have been discredited by whistleblowers since the attack, but an exclusive report by ABC News revealed that they may have been altered far more than initially believed. 

ABC News received 12 versions of the talking points document which revealed that the original CIA draft was "extensively edited" before it was distributed to Congress and Rice, who came under fire for her media appearances and consequently withdrew her name as secretary of state nominee

The edits appear to have come largely from the State Department, which requested that CIA warnings about terrorist threats in Benghazi leading up to the Sept. 11 attack be removed, and references to Ansar al-Sharia, an Al Qaeda affiliate, be cut.

Read more from GlobalPost: Benghazi hearing: Diplomats call attack terrorism, dismissing YouTube narrative

The ABC report contradicts earlier assertions by the White House that the talking points came from CIA officials.

"Those talking points originated from the intelligence community," Carney told reporters at a White House press briefing in November. "They reflect the IC’s best assessments of what they thought had happened."

Carney also had said the only outside edits were "stylistic."

Read more from GlobalPost: Boehner demands release of State Department emails on Benghazi attack

However, one of the major edits actually appears to have come from State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, who wrote in an e-mail that she was "concerned" about references to previous terror attacks because they "could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either?" 

ABC added that the major changes to the document "came after a White House meeting on the Saturday before Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on five Sunday shows," for which Nuland was not present.

The report comes just two days after the hearing about the Benghazi attack on Capitol Hill

[View the story "Benghazi talking points were edited extensively" on Storify]