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Email Reveals White House Involvement in Benghazi Talking Points

The watchdog group Judicial Watch has announced that they have obtained 41 new Benghazi-related State Department documents, including a damning email related to the crafting of Susan Rice’s talking points about the attack.

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Email Reveals White House Involvement in Benghazi Talking Points


The watchdog group Judicial Watch has announced that they have obtained 41 new Benghazi-related State Department documents, including a damning email related to the crafting of Susan Rice’s talking points about the attack.

From the Judicial Watch press release dated April 29:

Judicial Watch announced today that on April 18, 2014, it obtained 41 new Benghazi-related State Department documents. They include a newly declassified email showing then-White House Deputy Strategic Communications Adviser Ben Rhodes and other Obama administration public relations officials attempting to orchestrate a campaign to “reinforce” President Obama and to portray the Benghazi consulate terrorist attack as being “rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy.”  Other documents show that State Department officials initially described the incident as an “attack” and a possible kidnap attempt.

The subject line of the email from Rhodes reads: “RE: PREP Call with Susan: Saturday at 4:00 pm ET.” It was sent to a dozen members of the administration’s inner circle, including key members of the White House communications team such as Carney, according to Fox News:

In the email, Rhodes specifically draws attention to the anti-Islam Internet video, without distinguishing whether the Benghazi attack was different from protests elsewhere.

The email lists the following two goals, among others:

“To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”

“To reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.”

That email was sent a day prior to Rice’s scheduled appearances on Sunday morning talk shows to discuss the attack.

Remember when Rice appeared on news outlets (including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News and CNN) and claimed the assaults occurred “spontaneously” in response to the “hateful video”?

Judicial Watch reminds us what Rice said during her appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation on Sunday, September 16:

But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy–sparked by this hateful video.

But the documents contradict the story Rice repeatedly told during her news appearances:

The documents also include a September 12, 2012, email from former Deputy Spokesman at U.S. Mission to the United Nations Payton Knopf to Susan Rice, noting that at a press briefing earlier that day, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland explicitly stated that the attack on the consulate had been well planned.  The email sent by Knopf to Rice at 5:42 pm said:

Responding to a question about whether it was an organized terror attack, Toria said that she couldn’t speak to the identity of the perpetrators but that it was clearly a complex attack.

So (assuming she read that email), Rice knew the attack was not spontaneous.

Guy Benson of TownHall points out other issues that the newly released documents reveal:

Let’s unpack this new information. First, two political process points: (1) As we’ve recently seen with the IRS scandal, the Benghazi outrage continues to produce previously unseen evidence — destroying Democrats’ disgraceful “phony scandals” talking point. The White House began aggressively dismissing both stories last year. (2) Ed Morrissey reminds us that the White House claimed to have released “all” of its emails on Benghazi nearly a year ago. Gabe Malor asks the right question: Why are we just seeing these ones now?

Benson also questions another part of the email from Rhodes:

The memo also makes clear the White House was determined to deflect any criticism involving a “failure of [administration] policy.” What sort of failure? Take your pick. How about fueling a war in Libya with no apparent strategy to handle the resulting power vacuum? Or rejecting repeated requests for an enhanced security presence in a city from which much of the West had withdrawn, due to growing jihadi dominance? Or renewing a lease on our compound with a waiver for substandard security after it had faced several attempted attacks?

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said that the emails show the White House was most concerned with insulating Obama:

“Now we know the Obama White House’s chief concern about the Benghazi attack was making sure that President Obama looked good,” Fitton said in a statement. “And these documents undermine the Obama administration’s narrative that it thought the Benghazi attack had something to do with protests or an Internet video.

Given the explosive material in these documents, it is no surprise that we had to go to federal court to pry them loose from the Obama State Department.”

Naturally, White House spokesman Jay Carney tried to spin the story. On Wednesday, he told reporters that Rhodes’ e-mail had been misconstrued because it was referring to protests happening across the Muslim world at the time:

“The e-mail and the talking points were not about Benghazi. They were about the general situation in the Muslim world.”

Carney declined to answer directly when asked if the White House would correct the record regarding statements downplaying its role in the talking points. He did acknowledge what was evident from the Rhodes email — that “the White House had a role in that document, obviously,” reports Fox News.

Jon Karl of ABC News didn’t hold back during Carney’s press conference. The two verbally sparred for 8 minutes:

Judicial Watch began asking for the documents on October 18, 2012. On June 21, 2013, the organization filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of State to obtain them.

Material was blacked out or redacted in many of the emails.

Republicans had a lot to say about the new information:

House speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, issued a statement Wednesday night saying, “Four Americans lost their lives in Benghazi, and this White House has gone to extraordinary lengths to mislead, obstruct, and obscure what actually took place.”

“If this is not a smoking gun, proving beyond any doubt, the story told by the administration about Benghazi was politically motivated and fabricated, nothing will ever prove that,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said.

Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., renewed his call for a select committee to be established to investigate. He wrote House Speaker John Boehner a letter saying “it is now abundantly clear that senior White House staff were directly involved in coordinating the messaging in response to the Benghazi attacks and were actively working to tie the reason to the infamous Internet video.”

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a member of a House committee investigating the attack, told USA TODAY that the White House has turned over e-mails with much of the content blocked out:

“There were other e-mails that went to Susan Rice. We got them with heavy redactions. The White House needs to come clean on what they said.”

Chaffetz said his committee received 3,200 additional pages of new documents in the past 30 days — evidence, he said, that the White House has not been forthcoming.

But is anyone surprised that this “transparent” administration is hiding so much from us?

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Contributed by Lily Dane of The Daily Sheeple.

Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”

Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to "Wake the Flock Up!"


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