Wednesday night, the White House dumped 94 emails that only in part help to explain how top administration officials in the White House, FBI, and State helped to shape the CIA talking points that would serve to set up a false White House narrative surrounding the terror attacks in Benghazi for almost two weeks. Missing from those emails, though, is the record of a teleconference in which the final decision on the edits was made.
The bottom line is that the emails alone prove the White House has not been telling the truth about the role the Obama Administration took in the editing process. For months the White House (via spokesman Jay Carney) has repeatedly claimed that the Administration (which includes the State Department) only made one “stylistic” edit.
That is clearly not true.
What is now clear is that top administration officials, especially in the State Department, were deeply involved in convincing the CIA to water down the talking points to where they were both wholly inaccurate and beneficial to a president, sixty days from an election, who had just assured the American people he had al-Qaeda on the run.
After the editing process was over, the talking points were so obviously useless that then-CIA chief looked at them and wrote, “Frankly, I’d just as soon not use this[.]” It is also worth noting that nowhere in the talking points is the terror attack blamed on the YouTube video that would become a central Administration talking point for nearly two weeks.
As damning as the emails are, though, they still do not tell the whole story.
The emails only include the high-level editing process took place for a 24 hour period that started around midday on September 14. But as Neil Munro reports at the Daily Caller, “[T]his exclude[s] the critical emails between administration officials that were sent during the crucial first two days after the deadly jihadi attack.”
Another crucial piece of information the White House chose to exclude from last night’s dump is a transcript of discussions that took place via video teleconference. The Daily Beast’s Eli Lake:
Nor do the emails provide a record of the secure video teleconference from September 15 in which the final decisions were ultimately made on what the final version of the talking points would look like. Senior government officials such as the State Department’s director for policy planning, Jake Sullivan, participated in the teleconference.
Some in media already seem eager to declare the emails satisfactory. But these are the same media that declared themselves satisfied last September. We have been through all this before.
New Media and Congress need to keep pushing until the whole truth is out and the public is fully informed.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC