A “talking points” memo distributed to government officials about the deadly attack on the US consulate in Libya was altered by the intelligence community and not the White House, CNN reported.
Armed militants stormed the US mission in Benghazi on September 11 in a coordinated assault at two different locations over several hours that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.
CNN quoted Shawn Turner, spokesman for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, as saying that intelligence officials — not the White House, State Department or Justice Department — had altered the talking points, which were circulated to people who spoke publicly about Benghazi.
“The intelligence community made substantive, analytical changes before the talking points were sent to government agency partners for their feedback,” Turner said.
“There were no substantive changes made to the talking points after they left the intelligence community,” he added.
The political stakes are high with Obama reputedly mulling whether to pick US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice as his next secretary of state, despite Republicans accusing her of misleading the public over Benghazi in a series of television interviews she gave just days after the attack.
Nearly 100 Republican lawmakers warned Obama on Monday against nominating UN envoy Rice to be his next secretary of state, replacing Hillary Clinton who is standing down.
Rice went on American talk shows five days after Benghazi, and suggested it was a “spontaneous” outcome from a protest about an anti-Islam film that had then spun out of control.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]