State Dept. Sends Congress Benghazi 'Talking Points' Docs
The State Department sent a document dump of 97 pages to the House Congressional Oversight Committee late Friday night relating to Ambassador Susan Rice’s five Sunday television appearances last September, in which she falsely blamed the deadly attacks on the U.S. Consulate and C.I.A. annex in Benghazi, Libya on an internet video.
Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) subpoenaed documents on May 28 from State specifically requesting documents in relation to the “talking points” Rice used before she went on the Sunday talk shows.
Emails show the talking points were revised numerous times by various administration officials. Republicans suspect the talking points may have been changed for political reasons, pointing to the removal of references to terror. The White House and its supporters, however, say the misinformation came from the "fog of war" from conflicting intelligence and there was no intention to mislead the public.
Issa requested all communications “referring or relating to the Benghazi talking points, to or from the following current and former State Department personnel:
- William Burns, Deputy Secretary of State;
- Elizabeth Dibble, Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs;
- Beth Jones, Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs;
- Patrick Kennedy, Under Secretary for Management;
- Cheryl Mills, Counselor and Chief of Staff to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton;
- Thomas Nides, Deputy Secretary for Management;
- Victoria Nuland, Spokesperson;
- Philippe Reines, Deputy Assistant Secretary
- Jake Sullivan, Director of Policy Planning; and,
- David Adams, Assistant Secretary for State for Legislative Affairs.
In a statement to news outlets, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki wrote:
Our utmost priority is the safety and security of our men and women who serve overseas, which is why we are focused on the implementation of the 29 recommendations of the independent Benghazi Accountability Review Board. Since September, the Department has demonstrated an unprecedented degree of cooperation with Congress, taking part in eight hearings and thirty-five inter-agency briefings for Members and staff. We have accommodated previous requests for information from the House Oversight Committee by providing 25,000 pages of documents for their review.
Psaki insisted that nearly all the documents provided to the Committee had already been shared with the Committee and released publicly.
“We will supplement this response if we identify additional responsive documents,” Psaki stated, continuing, “Unfortunately, the documents provided today will not advance the most critical goal we all share which is how to best protect the men and women working overseas to advance our foreign policy and strengthen our national security. We look forward to a renewed focus by all members of Congress on that important debate.”