The White House is doubling down on their assertions that they did not have the proper information when they sent Susan Rice out to the Sunday talk shows to claim the Benghazi attack was due to a video. They claim that the only edit they made to the information given them was to change the name of the attacked facility from “consulate” to “diplomatic facility.”
Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Saturday:
We were provided with points by the intelligence community that represented their assessment. The only edit made by the White House was the factual edit about how to refer to the facility.
Rhodes said that the White House changed “consulate” to “diplomatic facility.” He continued, “Other than that, we were guided by the points that were provided by the intelligence community. So I can’t speak to any other edits that may have been made.”
It had to be the CIA that screwed up, not the White House, right? Sure it was, Rhodes asserted:
I can’t speak to what the process is within the CIA. (The administration) indicated we believed extremists were involved. The president himself called it an ‘act of terror,’ right? So you have an initial assessment, an initial judgment, but you’re able to get more specific as … the investigation proceeds. That’s going to be the natural progression of events.
According to insiders who heard the testimony of General David Petraeus on Friday, he said that he had quickly concluded after the attack that it was a terrorist attack. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said that the talking points that administration officials used erased the reference to a terrorist attack.
Rhodes finished throwing the CIA under the bus like this:
The focus of this has often been on public statements that were made by Susan Rice and other administration officials in that first week after the attack, those were informed by unclassified talking points that were provided to the Congress and the other agencies in the rest of the administration by the intelligence community. So that’s what informed our public statements. Now if there were adjustments to them made by the intelligence community, that’s common and that’s something they would have done themselves.
Yet officials inside the White House apparently have confessed that the White House knew within 72 hours of the attack that it was al-Qaeda operated. And knowing that the attack was likely being viewed in the situation room of the White House as it occurred makes it virtually impossible to believe that the White House would have eschewed getting information from the CIA immediately. information that Petraeus has acknowledged confirmed it was a terrorist attack.
The question is this: is the CIA willing to go to the rack on behalf of a White House that is throwing it under the bus?