Former CIA Acting Director Michael J. Morell testified Wednesday morning before the House Intelligence Committee on his role in the shaping of the administration’s widely discredited talking points on Benghazi. Republicans charge that Morell’s past accounts of his role on Benghazi were “often misleading and sometimes deliberately false.”
Republicans got few answers in the hearing, but a lot denials of wrongdoing. “I never allowed politics to influence what I said or did. Never,” the 33 year veteran of the agency who has served both Republican and Democrat presidents insisted.
Morell testified that he was deeply troubled by allegations “that I inappropriately altered and influenced CIA’s classified analysis and its unclassified talking points about what happened in Benghazi, Libya in September 2012 and that I covered up those actions.”
When Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL) asked Morell if he complained to the White House following Susan Rice’s appearances on the five Sunday talk shows, he said that he did not complain to anybody.
Morell affirmed that he read the email the CIA Station Chief in Libya had sent him on September 15, informing him that the attack was “not an escalation of protests.”
“I was the one who spotted what the COS said, it was in the bottom of an e-mail,” Morell said. “I was the one who spotted it and said this was inconsistent with what the analysts think…” Morell blamed the false video narrative on unnamed, unaccountable CIA analysts.
Asked if he thought the shift from a protest to a coordinated attack was perhaps a large shift, Morell answered, “we never thought that a protest and a terrorist attack were mutually exclusive.”
When Miller asked, “could it have been a terrorist attack that erupted into a protest?”
Morell answered, “sure.”
Video via NRO: