The Corner

The CBS Report on the Benghazi Talking-Points Memo Raises Even More Questions

The CBS News report that asserts someone in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — not the State Department or the White House – cut specific references to “al-Qaeda” and “terrorism” from the unclassified talking points given to Susan Rice raises rather than erases problems for the administration.

As Eliana notes below, the report is inconsistent with previous testimony. But just as troubling is the following statement in the CBS report: “‘The intelligence community assessed from the very beginning that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.’ DNI spokesmen Shawn Turner tells CBS News. That information was shared at a classified level – which Rice, as a member of  President Obama’s cabinet, would have been privy to.” (Emphasis added).

So Rice was privy to the classified assessment that the attack on the consulate was a terrorist attack. That’s not consistent with the president’s narrative that Rice was merely spouting what she was told. Yet she went on five news shows and said the matter was a spontaneous demonstration prompted by a video. 

Furthermore, nothing in the CBS News report indicates that the DNI’s office inserted anything about a video into either the classified or unclassified versions of the talking points. Just where did that idea come from?

Peter Kirsanow — Peter N. Kirsanow is an attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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