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Who changed CIA “Talking Points” on Benghazi?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:16 pm - November 16, 2012.
Filed under: Benghazi / Libya crisis,Democratic Scandals

Well, given General David Petraeus’s testimony today, looks like we’re going to need to add another question about Benghazi.  Or we could just call it a sub-question to those I asked in that post now that we have learned that someone in the administration changed the CIA’s “talking points”:

Former CIA Director David Petraeus stoked the controversy over the Obama administration’s handling of the Libya terror attack, testifying Friday that references to “Al Qaeda involvement” were stripped from his agency’s original talking points — while other intelligence officials were unable to say who changed the memo, according to a top lawmaker who was briefed.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told Fox News 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. He said they went out to multiple departments, including the State Department, National Security Council, Justice Department and White House.

Emphasis added.

Now, it’s time to find out who changed those talking points and why.



  1. Who is Ben Ghazi? What does Ben Ghazi have to do with my ability to get free stuff from the Government?

    Comment by Average Democrat Voter — November 16, 2012 @ 5:34 pm - November 16, 2012

  2. The hilarity is that, had Barack Obama not ordered that those talking points be leaked, what exactly was said would still be obscured.

    Now Petraeus and every single one of the agency heads that Obama is trying to throw under the bus is able to point to those things and say that those were NOT their original information and that they had been changed.

    Obama is running into the same problem that every narcissist runs into when they screw up; if all you think about is blaming and smearing other people for your problems, you’re eventually going to maneuver yourself into a contradictory corner.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — November 16, 2012 @ 5:36 pm - November 16, 2012

  3. My vote is that it is somebody at the white house (Jarret maybe) although this may turn into one of those questions that doesn’t get answered.

    Also, I don’t believe the media will hit any of this all that hard, because to do so will show just how complicit they were after the attacks happened and they mostly turned the story into not one about an Ambassador dying and why but how Romney made a gaffe by attacking the various tweets from the Cairo embassy condemning the movie.

    Comment by Just Me — November 16, 2012 @ 6:03 pm - November 16, 2012

  4. There is no controversy here. Anyone who thinks the media should be asking questions about this or is the least bit curious about what happened or that something doesn’t seem right here is a conspiracy-obsessed nutjob!!!!! And anyone who says that this suggests incompetence in Obama’s administration is racist!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Rattlesnake — November 16, 2012 @ 6:40 pm - November 16, 2012

  5. I agree with Just Me. It could have been Jarrett who made the change.

    Comment by StraightAussie — November 16, 2012 @ 6:46 pm - November 16, 2012

  6. The Obamanauts are whirling like dervishes and filling the air with spin that wingnuts are desperately trying to construct a conspiracy theory out of silly putty and whale snot.

    Why don’t they just step back and let us make idiots of ourselves? Why are they sending their first line of drool-cup idiots to blow smoke and spread mind-numbing stupidity?

    Comment by heliotrope — November 16, 2012 @ 7:20 pm - November 16, 2012

  7. “Who is Ben Ghazi?”

    Most of the Republican members of a Senate committee investigating the terrorist attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, skipped a classified briefing by administration officials on the incident Wednesday, CNN has learned.

    The missing lawmakers included Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who at the time of the top-secret briefing held a press conference in the Capitol to call for the creation of a Watergate-type special Congressional committee to investigate how and why the attack took place. …only three of the eight GOP members … attended the two hour briefing”

    Comment by Passing By — November 16, 2012 @ 8:48 pm - November 16, 2012

  8. I am so glad the mainstream press is there to filter the news for me and protect me from any information that might disturb my faith in the president. Also, Gimme more free stuff.

    Comment by Average Democrat Voter — November 16, 2012 @ 8:55 pm - November 16, 2012

  9. Maybe PassingBy, those senators were not made known about those meetings. It is a habit of Obama to exclude them on most things.

    Comment by Annie — November 16, 2012 @ 9:42 pm - November 16, 2012

  10. My guess is that it would be Tom Donilon’s responsibility to get those talking points to Rice so one would have to work backwards from there but I don’t believe they would have to go any farther. I would guess he is the one who was responsible for the talking points that Rice was given. He would have also had access to the raw memo provided by the DCI.

    Comment by crosspatch — November 16, 2012 @ 10:08 pm - November 16, 2012

  11. “Maybe … those senators were not made known about those meetings.”

    While McCain refused to shed light on why he didn’t show, his spokesman Brian Rogers emailed CNN a short time later with an explanation. He blamed it on a “scheduling error” but wouldn’t provide any more detail.”

    Comment by Passing By — November 17, 2012 @ 2:17 pm - November 17, 2012

  12. This whole investigation is a sideshow and waste of time,that will lead nowhere,while giving false hope of having justice served for those who died.

    You find our who ordered the change and then what?

    Obama could come right out and say he ordered the change and then what you gonna do?
    Nothing…absolutely nothing.

    The reaction will be a feigned outrage from the Republicans and a circling of the wagons from the Democrats and the media.

    Stupid,stupid stupid

    Comment by ebayer — November 17, 2012 @ 2:19 pm - November 17, 2012

  13. My first guess is that Jarret altered the talking points and possibly the President to his advantage but it backfired. He needs to be subjected to the same kind of investigation as President Nixon was.

    Comment by Stefan Semchyshyn, MD — November 17, 2012 @ 3:22 pm - November 17, 2012

  14. Someone please tell me what law was broken in this investigation of “changed talking points”?

    Seriously,if no law was broken and noone can be held accountable for anything,what the hell is the point of all this discussion? Why is everyone’s attention being focused on this?

    This is all just political grandstanding intended to make politicians seem engaged in the welfare of the country.

    Comment by ebayer — November 17, 2012 @ 5:22 pm - November 17, 2012

  15. ebayer,

    Not by a long shot. There are four very dead bodies. Start there.

    Could those people have been saved? No one can know for sure. But when we call 911 and the cops stop for donuts and coffee on the way to answer the call and the ambulance driver stops off for a latte, you and I have a justified hissy-fit over dereliction of duty. Malfeasance. Misfeasance, probably.

    When a cop fires his weapon in the line of duty, he surrenders his weapon and does paper work assignments while the shooting review board determines if what he did was all according to proper procedure. That includes shooting a bullet that just went into the sky, because that bullet comes down somewhere and possibly through the skull of a baby being pushed in a stroller.

    Stevens begged for protection in his e-mails and was denied. Two of the dead men disobeyed orders to “stand down” and died trying to help defend the mission.

    The last ambassador killed in service was in the Carter Administration. This is not just a bump in the road.

    Are you not willing to let the death of the ambassador and the murder of three other men be reviewed for malfeasance and/or misfeasance? Somewhere in the command chain, things seem to have gone very much awry.

    Are you just afraid that it might land at the feet of Obama? Is that your problem?

    Are you just a typical BushHitlerchimpmonkey hypocrite?

    Moral relativists are very good at hold their foes to one standards and their pals to another. Is that you?

    Comment by heliotrope — November 17, 2012 @ 7:27 pm - November 17, 2012

  16. @ heliotrope,

    I’m for getting to the heart of the matter.

    How do you go from “who changed the talking points in the CIA memo”,to who’s responsible for not allowing aid to Amb.Stevens and the others?

    Like I said in post 12…Obama could come right out and he claim he ordered the deletion of the mention of Al-Qaeda in the memo and then what?It’s not an admission of guilt for the deaths of those men.

    You still have the issue of who’s responsible for denying aid to those four men.

    And the issue here is not that an Ambassador and others were killed,but that they were intentionally denied the aid that would’ve saved their lives and thereby sacrificed.
    And to add insult to injury,the people who could’ve sent the cavalry in to save them,stood around for hours and watched in real time while it happened.

    Talk about your ultimate snuff film.
    This is absolutely disturbing and disgusting.
    I’d like to know the times of his calls for help and the times of the video of the attack and see if the calls were being made while the video feed was being sent back to Washington.

    Were members of the administration watching these men in real time call for help?

    Comment by ebayer — November 17, 2012 @ 8:34 pm - November 17, 2012

  17. Instead of holding these rediculous hearings this is what you do to get to who’s resposible for the deaths of these men:

    You bring in Admiral Gaouette and General Ham and ask them point blank about the messages they received from their superiors.You ask them what actions they were preparing to take and why.

    You demand to see those orders and you trace them all the way back the chain of command and see where the buck stops.

    You bring in General Ham’s second in command and ask him about his actions that night and the things he heard and saw.

    What you DON’T do is argue about semantics.Were they Al-Qaeda or just terrorists?The fact of the matter is,they had WEAPONS and outnumbered the men in the compound.
    It doesn’t matter who the hell they were.Hundreds of guys firing automatic weapons,RPG’s and mortars.
    Reason enough to send in the cavalry,secure the area and find out who the bad guys were after the smoke clears.

    Comment by ebayer — November 17, 2012 @ 9:02 pm - November 17, 2012

  18. Agreed.

    The control of the narrative, however, keeps the door open. The Watergate committee fished around and pulled in a fair amount of collateral stuff in the tangled web, but nothing had a bigger surprise or more important impact than when Alexander Butterfield happened to drop the info of the Oval Office taping system.

    Somewhere in the detritus of the various communications, there is very likely some key to the whole cover-up.

    At this point in the process, the hearings are gathering information for their “grand jury” stage. It is not actually a trial.

    Comment by heliotrope — November 17, 2012 @ 10:37 pm - November 17, 2012

  19. The election is over, so what’s the big deal about the president lying and covering up stuff?

    Comment by Average Democrat Voter — November 18, 2012 @ 10:29 am - November 18, 2012

  20. At this point in the process, the hearings are gathering information for their “grand jury” stage. It is not actually a trial.

    Comment by heliotrope — November 17, 2012 @ 10:37 pm – November 17, 2012


    A good lawyer never asks for the specific pieces of data that they want in the initial subpoena. They ask for the maximum information that they can get, knowing a) that the presumption of “if they weren’t guilty, they wouldn’t be hiding it” is the subconscious default for the vast majority of human beings and b) the pattern of information is sometimes more telling than the information itself.

    Also, when one is dealing with a personality cult such as exists around Obama, you have true believers (Rice, Jarrett, Michelle Obama), you have skeptics with honor (Petraeus), and you have those who are in it for the money. You crack the cult by, not demanding answers from the true believers, but by using that which the skeptics with honor give you to make it very warm for those who are in it for the money, to the point where they pull a Himmler or a Goering and start coughing up information on Dear Leader.

    Meanwhile, to ebayer’s point:

    You bring in Admiral Gaouette and General Ham and ask them point blank about the messages they received from their superiors.You ask them what actions they were preparing to take and why.

    You demand to see those orders and you trace them all the way back the chain of command and see where the buck stops.

    You bring in General Ham’s second in command and ask him about his actions that night and the things he heard and saw.

    Oh, there’s no need for that. Believe me, if any of these people had actually been responsible for what happened, they would be completely under the bus at this point. Documents, confessions, everything of the sort would already be public record, pushed out by the Obama Party with a glorious flourish of “transparency” and hand-wringing about how this should never happen again and how we need more regulations and taxes to ensure that it doesn’t.

    Instead, we have epic stonewalling and parsing, to the point where even the Obama supporters are starting to have qualms about Obama’s ranting that criticizing a black woman for screwing up is racist and misogynist.

    One of the key things to remember from Watergate was that the Watergate burglary itself was hardly a major deal; indeed, most evidence indicates that Nixon had no idea that it was going to happen. But what did happen was that the attempts to cover it up and block any attempts to link it back to the President created their own set of problems, and Nixon ultimately ended up having to resign because of his appeared acquiescence in the attempts to cover it up.

    In short, because of Obama’s stupidity and arrogance, the question has shifted from who did what to why Obama and the Obama Party don’t want anyone to know who did what. Thus, the only way to proceed is as was done for Watergate — keep the pressure on the top, make it impossible for any retaliation to take place without people noticing, and wait for those who are in it for the money to turn.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — November 18, 2012 @ 2:15 pm - November 18, 2012

  21. CBS News has learned that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) cut specific references to “al Qaeda” and “terrorism” from the unclassified talking points given to Ambassador Susan Rice on the Benghazi consulate attack – with the agreement of the CIA and FBI. The White House or State Department did not make those changes.
    “The points were not, as has been insinuated by some, edited to minimize the role of extremists, diminish terrorist affiliations, or play down that this was an attack,” the official tells CBS News, adding that there were “legitimate intelligence and legal issues to consider, as is almost always the case when explaining classified assessments publicly.”
    “Most people understand that saying ‘extremists’ were involved in a direct assault on the mission isn’t shying away from the idea of terrorist involvement,” added the official. “Because of the various elements involved in the attack, the term extremist was meant to capture the range of participants.”

    OK,so now what?
    The issue is dead.

    Knowing this information doesn’t bring us any closer to whose responsible for allowing those men to die.

    Like I said before,this whole thing was stupid and a huge waste of time,now I’m proved right.

    Unless you bring in Admiral Gaouette and General Ham and the pilot of the plane the seal was in touch with,to testify,you’re never going to find out who ordered what and when.

    Comment by ebayer — November 20, 2012 @ 12:55 pm - November 20, 2012

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