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White House Denies Allegations of Scrubbing Terror Threat from CIA Libya Account

The White House denied allegations Saturday that it scrubbed terrorist  involvement from original CIA talking points on the fatal Libya attacks – part  of a weekend back and forth in which both parties continued to defend their  positions.

White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said only one minor  change was made by the Oval Office.

“The only edit that was made by the White House and also by the State  Department was to change the word ‘consulate’ to the word ‘diplomatic facility,’  since the facility in Benghazi was not formally a consulate,” Rhodes told  reporters Saturday aboard Air Force One.

“We were provided with points by the intelligence community that represented  their assessment. The only edit made by the White House was the factual edit  about how to refer to the facility,” Rhodes also said.

His remarks came a day after former CIA Director David Petraeus told House  and Senate intelligence committees that the agency’s original talking points  suggested the Sept. 11 attacks involved Al Qaeda affiliates and sympathizers – including the Libyan group Ansar al-Shariah.

However, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice made no mention of terrorists when  appearing Sept. 16 on several TV shows to say the attacks in Benghazi, Libya,  were “spontaneous” and appeared to be sparked by angry protests over an  anti-Islamic film.

Rice purportedly was working off non-classified CIA talking points that had  first been reviewed by the White House and other agencies including the Defense  and State departments.

The attacks killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Steven and three other  Americans.

Earlier on Saturday, Republican Rep. Pete King said the next step is learn  who changed the talking points and why.

He also suggested the House Intelligence Committee could call Rice, the U.S.  ambassador to the United Nations, to testify.

The New York congressman told Fox News that the CIA intelligence reports went  through so many administration offices that finding out who removed the  information that connected the attacks with terror groups will be difficult.

“The CIA had it right, and those talking points were changed,” King said.  “It’s not going to be easy.”

King, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the other  Capitol Hill committees could call Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United  Nations, to testify but others on Capitol Hill also must take up the effort.

“It’s up to the other committees,” he said. “We have to find out … . Clearly,  the intelligence committee had it right. Somewhere along the line the policy  makers changed it.”

He said the key questions for Rice should be: Who did she speak with in the  intelligence committee before making her comments and who briefed her?

King suggested he’d be surprised if Rice went on national TV with just a few  talking points.

“Maybe the president’s right,” he said. “We should be looking at him.”

King stuck to his argument that the Obama administration believed the war  against Al Qaeda was over “and this is what they wanted to present.”

California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff told Fox the existing Hill committees  can handle the investigation and a special Watergate-style or select Hill  committee is not needed in part because it would be too politicized.

The attack occurred roughly seven weeks before Election Day.

King told Fox on Friday that intelligence officials who testified in a  closed-door hearing a day earlier, including Director of National Intelligence  James Clapper and acting CIA Director Mike Morell, said they did not know who  changed the talking points.

Source: Fox News

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Posted by on November 18, 2012. Filed under NY News,Slider. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.