The White House on Wednesday released 100 pages of emails designed to quell a furor about disputed talking points framed for top officials following the attack on the US mission in Benghazi.
The release of the documents was an apparent attempt to defuse Republican complaints that the White House initially blamed the attack, which killed four Americans, on a spontaneous protest rather than on Islamic extremists.
The correspondence appears to show that the CIA, and not senior White House and State Department officials, took the lead in developing the talking points and in omitting key information about possible extremist action.
References to Al-Qaeda and Libya-based Islamic extremists were removed from the talking points, later used by UN ambassador Susan Rice in a controversial appearance on Sunday morning talk shows to talk about the attack.
The White House had previously declined to detail the emails, between members of President Barack Obama’s National Security Council, the State Department, the CIA and other agencies.
[Note: Updated after publication]