White House Denies Suggestion It Scrubbed Terror Threat From CIA Libya Account
The White House pushed back Saturday on suggestions that it scrubbed terrorist involvement from original CIA talking points on the fatal Libya attacks.
The remark by White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes followed former CIA Director David Petraeus telling House and Senate intelligence committees Friday that the agency’s original talking points suggested the Sept. 11 attack involved Al Qaeda affiliates and sympathizers -- including Al Qaeda’s North Africa affiliate and a Libyan group Ansar al-Shariah.
"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.
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 reviews by the White House and other agencies include the Defense and State departments.
The attacks killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Steven and three other Americans.
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