CBS News’s Sharyl Attkisson scored interviews with a number of anonymous White House officials who agreed to talk candidly about the Administration’s reaction to the September 11 terror attack in Libya.
What they apparently refuse to talk about, though, is something else no one else will talk about: a crucial meeting, mentioned by Obama Advisor Ben Rhodes in emails recently made public, that took place surrounding the shaping of the CIA’s talking points:
As the various agencies worked to edit and approve the talking points on Sept. 14, Mr. Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes emailed that there would be a Deputies meeting the next morning to work out the issues. “That’s polite code for let’s not debate this on e-mail for 18 hours,” said one official involved. (Ben Rhodes is the brother of CBS News President David Rhodes.)
Even today, nobody will say on the record, or even off the record to CBS News, who was at the Deputies meeting on the morning of Sept. 15, where the talking points were drastically pared down for Rice’s use. The approved version called the attacks “demonstrations” that “evolved” after being “spontaneously inspired” by protest at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. All mentions of terrorism, al Qaeda and previous warnings given by the CIA had been excised.
Wednesday’s release of 94 emails only tells part of a story that would finally explain how the talking points were finally shaped and edited and who shaped them. Moreover, they were shaped into something that had no resemblance to the truth, but were very helpful to a president less than sixty days away from an election.
The Narrative coming out of the White House after the release of the 94 emails is that the emails prove the White House had no role in manipulating the talking points. Only Hillary Clinton’s State Department is on the hook for that (though State is still part of the Obama Administration).
But we still don’t know the full story, and we won’t until we see any emails that might have been exchanged between the White House and the CIA during the crucial forty-eight hours after the terror attack and before the drafting of what would end up being the first draft of the talking points. Nor do we have any information on this “Deputies meeting” where “the talking points were drastically pared down for Rice’s use.”
This isn’t a fishing expedition, either. White House spokesman Jay Carney has already been caught in a lie with his longstanding claim that the Administration played no role in editing the talking points, outside of changing a single word — a “stylistic edit,” as he called it. Well, State demanded a received almost a total rewrite.
So, at this point we know for a fact that we can no longer take the White House’s word for anything.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC