Conflict & Justice

Benghazi emails show White House developed 'talking points' about embassy attack



Supporters and members of hardline Islamist groups shout slogans during a demonstration in Benghazi, Libya, on September 14, 2012. The White House released 100 pages of emails on May 15, 2013, related to how it handled the terror attacks in Libya that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three staff members.



The CIA drafted “talking points” for US politicians to use with media in the days following the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, last September, newly released documents and emails show.

The White House released 100 pages to the public today, in part to quell accusations the Obama administration fumbled the Sept. 11, 2012 incident, CNN’s Jake Tapper reported.

Even with the release, Republicans say they still have unanswered questions, including the handling of the investigation into the Benghazi attacks by the Accountability Review Board, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In the emails, officials briefed members of the House Intelligence Committee about what caused the attacks and who was responsible, including the influence of Al Qaeda.

“The crowd almost certainly was a mix of individuals from across many sectors of Libyan society,” one email says. “The investigation is on-going as to who is responsible. That being said, we do know that Islamic extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.”

The documents can be found here.

The attack killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three of his staff.

Before their release to the public, the White House had made the documents available to congressional investigators to review, the Associated Press said.

One of the White House officials involved in the talking points debate responded to charges that the administration had handled the matter poorly.

"Some people have understandably asked how we were so wrong about there being a protest," former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement cited by the Journal.

"I don't know," he explained. "When I was in government, I asked some intelligence officials how it happened. They told me that there were many different strands of information indicating there was a protest, both open source and intelligence based."