The White House denied Saturday having heavily edited talking points to UN Ambassador Susan Rice about the deadly attacks on a US mission in Libya to remove references to terrorism.
“The only edit that was made by the White House and also by the State Department was to change the word ‘consulate’ to the word ‘diplomatic facility,’ since the facility in Benghazi was not formally a consulate,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters aboard Air Force One.
“Other than that, we were guided by the points that were provided by the intelligence community. So I can’t speak to any other edits that may have been made.”
Republican lawmakers briefed by former CIA chief David Petraeus on Friday said that the original talking points about the attack had mentioned groups linked to Al-Qaeda.
But Petraeus told the lawmakers that the reference was removed from a final version given to Rice before she discussed the attack on five Sunday television talkshows and said the assault was a response to an amateur video denigrating Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.
The initial talking points “specifically mentioned Al-Qaeda, and that Al-Qaeda was involved in the attack,” Republican Representative Peter King, who attended the briefing, told Fox News.
“When the talking points were finalized, all the references to Al-Qaeda were taken out and it was put in almost as an afterthought saying there are indications of extremist involvement in the demonstration.”
Critics have seized on Rice’s remarks to argue that the White House misled or even lied to Americans during a heated election season.
Rice has been floated as a possible successor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is stepping down early next year, but some Republicans threaten to block her nomination.
But the Obama administration has denied it misled the public, insisting it was providing information based on the intelligence available at the time.
“Those points, and what Susan said is that we indicated we believed extremists were involved,” Rhodes said. “So you have an initial assessment, an initial judgment, but you’re able to get more specific as… the investigation proceeds.”
Asked whether the White House had removed the initial reference to a terror link, Rhodes suggested the intelligence community was to blame.
“We were provided with points by the intelligence community that represented their assessment; the only edit made by the White House was the factual edit about how to refer to the facility,” he said.
“Now if there were adjustments to them made by the intelligence community, that’s common and that’s something they would have done themselves.”
Black Republican: Cops ‘treat their dogs better than they treat us’
Black Republican political commentator Shermichael Singleton was part of a panel discussing the Phoenix police department that violently arrested the parents of a little girl who walked out of a dollar store with a doll.
The incident occurred months ago, but only now the footage is being released by police, revealing the way the family was treated.
Democratic strategist Joel Payne seemed appalled at the police in the video and the mark that likely left on the children who experienced it.
"I think about that young man talking about his child, and this is their first interaction with police," he said, noting Father's Day. "And that is the life, that's the life lesson that that child is being taught is that in that moment, that police officer was trying to hurt her and to hurt her parents. That's unacceptable."
US attacks Russia’s power grid — but Trump was kept in the dark about it
The New York Times is reporting that the United States is cyber attacking Russia's electric power grid and other targets—and that President Donald Trump is being kept out of the loop.
"The American strategy has shifted more toward offense, officials say, with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before."
Trump has not been briefed on the operation because of “the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials.”
Israel’s Netanyahu just christened a building named after Trump — that doesn’t even exist
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent his Father’s Day dedicating a new Trump Tower-type building that hasn't been built in a town that doesn't exist.
Standing in front of a large sign saying "Trump Heights," Netanyahu, who is being forced back into another election, announced the building before planning even began, Axios reported.
A great day on the Golan. PM Netanyahu and I had the honor to dedicate “Trump Heights” — first time Israel has dedicated a village in honor of a sitting president since Harry Truman (1949). Happy Birthday Mr. President!! @POTUS pic.twitter.com/fdYWzokFLK