To aid the confirmation of counterterrorism chief John Brennan as the next director of the CIA, the White House will release more emails and documents related to the 2012 Benghazi attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
According to Politico, the White House will “surrender email messages between top national security officials that discuss how to describe the Sept. 11 attack” to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is overseeing the Brennan’s confirmation hearings.
Republican Senators, in particular Senators Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), demanded the documents as a condition for moving the Brennan nomination forward.
After terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last September 11 and killed four Americans, President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, then-Secretary of State, initially claimed the attacks were a demonstration against an anti-Islam YouTube video that got out of hand.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice appeared on multiple news programs the weekend after the attacks and reinforced that claim. Controversy over Rice’s comments eventually derailed her anticipated nomination for Secretary of State.
Reporters investigating the Benghazi controversy hope the documents will provide insight into the White House’s motivations in the PR scramble following the attacks.
One explanation from critics is that the Obama administration blamed the attacks on the YouTube video because the attack would have undercut the White House’s election-year claims that Al-Qaeda was on the retreat–or to prevent the perception that Obama failed to take actions which could have saved American lives.
Others believe the White House wanted to cover up an alleged covert war being waged in Libya, which two special ops experts claim Brennan may have led.