My take on Benghazi developments can be found here, but there are any number of other pieces an informed person should take a gander at. I’d like to suggest reading the ABC News story and Steve Hayes’ Weekly Standard piece on the State-scrubbed talking-points in conjunction with Andy McCarthy’s column on the Libyan president Mohammed Magarief. Victoria Nuland and the State Department vacuumed any real “intelligence” out of the CIA talking-points like Dr Kermit Gosnell suctioning the brains out of Philadelphia babies. Why would they do this? The nearest thing to any genuine rationale that was offered was this:
The CIA version went on to say, “That being said, we do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qa’ida participated in the attack.” The draft went on to specifically name the al Qaeda-affiliated group named Ansar al-Sharia.
Once again, Nuland objected to naming the terrorist groups because “we don’t want to prejudice the investigation.”
In response, an NSC staffer coordinating the review of the talking points wrote back to Nuland, “The FBI did not have major concerns with the points and offered only a couple minor suggestions…”
In an email dated 9/14/12 at 9:34 p.m. — three days after the attack and two days before Ambassador Rice appeared on the Sunday shows – Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes wrote an email saying the State Department’s concerns needed to be addressed.
“We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation. We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting.”
After that meeting, which took place Saturday morning at the White House, the CIA drafted the final version of the talking points – deleting all references to al Qaeda and to the security warnings in Benghazi prior to the attack.
So Ms Nuland got her way, ostensibly in the interests of not “undermining” the FBI investigation. And, because she got her way, the FBI investigation was severely undermined. As Andy writes in his column, the Libyan president had publicly condemned the terrorist attack in Benghazi, and was therefore stunned to switch on CNN International and find Susan Rice insisting that it was all to do with a movie protest – in other words, the US Government was lying to its own citizenry as shamelessly as the Gaddafi or Assad regime would. What would you do in President Magarief’s shoes? He knows the YouTube story is false, and he knows that Washington knows it’s false, and knew it on the very night of the Benghazi assault. And, quite reasonably enough, he has never trusted the Americans since.
One very immediate consequence of this is that the FBI were prevented from getting into Libya – again entirely reasonably: Magarief knows Obama, Clinton and Rice are peddling a fraud with no basis in reality, so it would seem prudent to assume that any US agents he lets in are not there to find out the truth but to prop up the fraud. So he kept them well away from Benghazi, for weeks.
The changes the State Department demanded in order not to undermine the FBI investigation wound up undermining it (and US/Libyan relations) profoundly.