The mystery of who gave Amb. Susan Rice her talking points has finally been solved. The Director of National Intelligence reportedly removed references to al Qaeda from talking points produced by the CIA.
In the latest twist in the ongoing story of what went wrong in Benghazi, we now know that someone in the office of DNI head James Clapper made changes to public talking points about who was responsible for the 9/11 attack. The changes removed specific references to al Qaeda and “terrorism” which were already part of classified assessments and briefings. Clapper is an Obama appointee.
Sources tell CBS that the changes were made because the al Qaeda connection was “tenuous.” This was not the assessment made by CIA director Petraeus, who testified to Congress last week that he knew the attack was terrorism almost immediately. Petraeus signed off on leaving the al Qaeda reference in the public talking points.
Ambassador Rice would have had access to the classified assessment which identified al Qaeda by name but could not discuss what she knew on television once those bits of information were removed by the DNI.
In addition to the edits made by the DNI, the FBI also made changesbefore the talking points were given to Ambassador Rice for her WhiteHouse-approved appearance on five Sunday talk shows.
Unnamed US and “White House” officials have been speaking to CNN and NBC as well in the past 24 hours. All tell essentially the same story — that it was the intelligence community, not the White House, which altered the talking points presented by Rice after Hillary Clinton declined to appear on television to discuss the situation.