As the Obama administration’s false Benghazi talking point about spontaneous reaction to a Youtube video was falling apart, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had one of her top aides prepare a defense helping her back away from the talking point.
The aide explained to Clinton that she had been “careful” in her initial statements, and never used the word “spontaneous.”
Breitbart News reported Tuesday that Clinton received a confidential memo the day after the Benghazi attack fingering the Ansar Al Sharia Islamist group as the terrorists responsible for murdering U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others. The memo made clear that the terrorists were using local protests about an anti-Muslim Youtube video as “cover” for their strategic attack. Clinton forwarded the memo to her aide Jacob Sullivan, saying, “We should get this around ASAP.” But she released a statement the next morning shifting blame to the Youtube video demonstrations – a talking point that she and the White House would revisit repeatedly.
Five days after the attack, Clinton’s State Department was still propagating the view that the Youtube video was responsible.
On September 16, Sullivan emailed Clinton a transcript of U.N. ambassador Susan Rice’s appearance on ABC’s “This Week” with Jake Tapper.
“Here is Susan on this week,” Sullivan wrote. “She wasn’t asked about whether we had any intel. But she did make clear our view that this started spontaneously and then evolved. The only troubling sentence relates to the investigation, specifically: ‘And we’ll see when the investigation unfolds whether what was — what transpired in Benghazi might have unfolded differently in different circumstances.’ But she got pushed there.”
But the Youtube video talking point didn’t stick, and Sullivan had to explain to Clinton that -thankfully for her – she had never fully committed to it.
Sullivan sent Clinton another email about two weeks later on September 30, completely changing his tune. The email included transcripts of all of Clinton’s statements on Benghazi up to that point. Sullivan clarified for Clinton what her position on the Youtube video had been.
“Attached is full compilation,” Sullivan wrote. “You never said spontaneous or characterized the motives. In fact you were careful in your first statement to say we were assessing motive and method. The way you treated the video in the Libya context was to say that some sought to *justify* the attack on that basis.”
Clinton forwarded Sullivan’s transcripts to State Department aide Oscar Flores with the instruction “Pls print.”