Yesterday, the White House claimed it had nothing to do with changes to the CIA’s briefing notes on which UN Ambassador Susan Rice reportedly relied when she told five different Sunday talk shows five days after the sacking of the Benghazi consulate that there was “no evidence” of terrorism. That comes as news to Senator Saxby Chambliss, who notes that everyone else in the chain of custody of those talking points testified to his committee about their handling of them except the White House, and all of them said that the CIA’s assessment of the likelihood of terrorism was still in the notes when they had them:
Leaders from the State Department, FBI, CIA, including former CIA Director David Petraeus, testified on Thursday and Friday. Regarding the allegations that the original CIA talking points had been changed so that terrorist involvement was not included, Sen. Chambliss said, “Everybody there was asked do you know who made these changes; and nobody knew. The only entity that reviewed the talking points that was not there was the White House.”
If the White House was so adamant about this position, where were they during the hearings? Why not send someone to testify to their actions in the dissemination of a false narrative during the presidential election?
However, both Chambliss and Joe Lieberman correctly state that the real question is why this consulate was allowed to remain open in the first place:
Sen. Chambliss told Chris Wallace, “We’ve got to get some State Department officials in to really explain why you send an ambassador basically unguarded with a few Libyan guards.”
Sen. Lieberman added, “In my opinion it was irresponsible to have our State Department personnel there with only three security guards.” He went on to say that, “Either we should’ve given them the protection they deserved, or we should’ve closed that mission in Benghazi as the British government had done a short while before.”
In that sense, Susan Rice is not exactly small potatoes, but she’s not the central question. What took place a few days later is less important than the decisions, actions, and lack of action before the attack and during the attack. Still, that’s not to say that what took place after the attack might not have some bearing on the White House’s attempt to escape responsibility for what took place before and during it, too.