The Corner

Psaki: Benghazi E-Mails Were ‘An Assertion Made on An Assertion’

Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki dismissed the significance of official government e-mails indicating that an extremist group took credit for the Benghazi attacks just two hours after they took place, charging that the messages were merely “an assertion made on an assertion made on a social media site.” According to the White House pool report, Psaki told reporters:  

There were emails about all sorts of information that was coming available in the aftermath of the attack. The email you are referring to was an open source email referring to an assertion made on an assertion made on a social media site that everyone in this room has access to and knew about instantaneously.

There was a variety of information coming in. The whole point of an intelligence community and what they do is to assess strands of information and make judgments about what happened and who was responsible.

I would refer you to what we have said about, and what the DNI has already said about the initial assessments of the intelligence community and the fact that throughout this process I and others made very clear that our preliminary assessments are preliminary that an investigation was under way.This is an open source, unclassified email about a posting on a Facebook site. I would also note that within a few hours the organization itself claimed that it had not been responsible. Neither should be taken as fact. That is why there is an investigation.

Psaki did not indicate why administration officials leaned on CIA intelligence and cited a “spontaneous” protest elicited by a YouTube video as the cause of the attacks, despite the fact that both the White House and the State Department received e-mails notifying them that a militant group had claimed credit for the assault.

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