Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on February 14, 2013, against the Obama Administration’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence seeking records that could shed light on what Obama administration officials knew about the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi and when they knew it.
Specifically, Judicial Watch seeks a controversial “speaking points” memo that seems to suggest that intelligence officials believed from the outset that al Qaeda was behind the attack, despite public statements to the contrary issued by Obama administration officials, most notably UN Ambassador Susan Rice and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
We are seeking any and all memoranda, assessments, analyses, and/or talking points regarding the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya and/or the killing of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, produced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence between September 11, 2012 and September 20, 2012. This request includes, but is not limited to, the “speaking points” memorandum referred to by Senator Dianne Feinstein during a televised interview on October 17, 2012.
According to the CBS affiliate in San Francisco, “When asked by CBS 5 if there was an intelligence flaw, the senior California senator [Feinstein] who hails from San Francisco replied: ‘I think what happened was the director of intelligence… put out some speaking points on the initial intelligence assessment. I think that was possibly a mistake.’”
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence acknowledged receiving our request on October 19, 2012, and was required by law to respond by November 26, 2012. However, as of the date of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, the agency failed to produce any records responsive to the request, indicate when any responsive records will be produced, or demonstrated that responsive records are exempt from production.
Former CIA Director General David Petraeus reportedly testified before Congress that the initial speaking points produced by the CIA “stated there were indications the attack was linked to al Qaeda,” and suggested the terrorism reference was removed sometime during an interagency review process.
In the days and weeks following the Benghazi attacks, the Obama administration blamed the incident on an internet video deemed offensive to Muslims. This false claim was repeated by both Ambassador Rice and Secretary Clinton in multiple public statements and press interviews.
For example, at a September 14, 2012 event honoring the four victims of the Benghazi attack, then-Secretary of State Clinton made the following statement: “We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen the rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful video that we had nothing to do with.”
Did Hillary Clinton know this was a lie when she said it? She certainly was in no mood to talk about it during her testimony before Congress.
When asked about the alleged discrepancy between the intelligence community’s assessment and the Obama administration’s public statements during congressional testimony, Ms. Clinton shouted, “What difference does it make?”
“I personally was not focused on talking points,” Clinton explained.
Hillary Clinton would rather leave it at that. But we’re not content. With all of the Benghazi lies coming out of the Obama administration, the only way to get at the truth is to release these records immediately. The Obama administration’s response to Benghazi is a disgrace and an insult to the victims of the attacks and their families.
Someone inside the administration scrubbed the al Qaeda link to the attacks out of the intelligence talking points that were used to lie to the American people.
If you are interested in getting the facts about Benghazi, Judicial Watch has a special report, “The Benghazi Attack of September 11, 2012: Analysis and Further Questions from a Diplomatic Security Service Regional Security Officer and Special Agent.” The report closely examined the Obama administration’s actions before, during, and after the assault, as well as the State Department’s commitment to protect overseas diplomats.
Our new report contains in-depth analysis, conducted exclusively for Judicial Watch by former State Department Security Special Agent Raymond Fournier. It examines the critical time period leading up to the Benghazi attack when repeated requests for increased security were ignored by top State Department officials.
Senate Republicans have indicated they plan to put a hold on the confirmation of John Brennan, former Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism – and President Obama’s pick to serve as Director of the CIA – until the Obama White House releases more details on the Benghazi attacks, including the talking points memos.