Mike Morell, the former acting director of the CIA, insists that he and the CIA did not “deliberately downplay the role of terrorists in the Benghazi attack in [their] analysis or in the talking points” used by the administration after the attack.
“I was the one who spotted what the [CIA’s Libya chief of station] said, [that there hadn’t been a protest], it was in the bottom of an e-mail,” Morell said to the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday in his first testimony on the issue. “I was the one who spotted it and said this was inconsistent with what the analysts think” — referring to the intelligence community’s belief that there had been protests in Benghazi connected to the anti-Innocence of Muslims demonstrations across the world.
“We never thought that a protest and a terrorist attack were mutually exclusive,” said Morell, suggesting a terrorist attack could have erupted from the protest.
Morell said he didn’t complain to the White House about former ambassador Susan Rice’s Sunday morning talk-show talking points after the September 11 Benghazi attacks.