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April 30, 2014

Looking Over the Wreckage of Obama's Year and a Half of Benghazi Lies

You wanted the truth.

You'd take abashed silence.

You get this:


Sharyl Attkisson, whose reportage was somehow not appreciated by the network news organization headed by David Rhodes, brother of Ben Rhodes, who wrote this email, continues reporting for no employer but her readers.

Relatively few documents have been provided that shed light on White House involvement in the post-Benghazi narrative. Previously, emails showed that then-deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough, on Rhodes' behalf, assigned Hillary Clinton-aide Jake Sullivan to work with Deputy Director of the C.I.A. Mike Morell to edit the talking points on Benghazi.

As the various agencies worked to edit and approve the talking points on Sept. 14, Rhodes emailed that there would be a Deputies meeting the next morning to work out the issues. "That's polite code for let's not debate this on e-mail for 18 hours," one official involved told me last year.

Multiple government officials including those in the military, State Department and C.I.A. have stated in documents or under questioning that they immediately believed the attacks, using heavy weaponry and mortar shells, were the work of terrorists. Prior to the attacks, there had been multiple warnings of al Qaeda threats in Libya and, specifically, in Benghazi.

In fact, in an early version of the government’s “talking points,” the C.I.A. stated that it had “produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al-Qa'ida in Benghazi and eastern Libya,” and that “These noted that, since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador's convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks." The administration later removed these C.I.A. disclosures about the advance warning of a threat.

Morell testified to Congress earlier this month that he, and not the White House, was responsible for making some of the most controversial revisions to the talking points, including removing the language about the advance warnings.


Morell, you'll remember, had previously not told anyone that he himself had edited the talking points and made various edits.

In fact, at one point, he claimed he "believed" the FBI had done so.


He would later claim his "belief" that the FBI had made these edits, when he himself had done so, was an "error."

Morell had helped shepherd the "Internet video/spontaneous protests" story along, by assiduously rejecting reports that this was a planned, organized, non-spontaneously-evolving Internet Video Attack.

[Morell] did confirm that he overruled guidance from the CIA chief of station in Libya that the attacks were "not/not an escalation of protests."

Morell, explaining his decision, effectively challenged the evidence his chief of station brought to the table in his message, sent via email a few days after the attack. He said the claim that there was no protest was based only on "press reports" and reports from officers who arrived in Benghazi after the attack had already started.

He said that basis was not "compelling" enough.

The email written by Ben Rhodes relied heavily upon the yeoman's work Morell did for Team Hillary and Team Obama in so thoroughly "balancing the equities" (which I'm told is code for "protecting the reputations of senior political personnel) earlier.

And just to remind, where is Morell now?

Morell has since gone to work as counsel for Beacon Global Strategies, a strategic relations PR firm dominated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton officials and Obama administration officials. (Disclosure: In January, Morell was hired as an analyst for CBS News where I was previously employed.)

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posted by Ace at 07:14 PM

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