It’s been more than two months since U.N. Amb. Susan Rice kicked off the Obama administration’s Benghazi spin-a-thon, appearing on not one but five network news programs to discuss the “spontaneous protests” which led to the deaths of four Americans on Sept. 11. Ever since, the CIA, State Department and White House have played a game of hot potato with the question of who knew what, and when did they know it?
Over the weekend, the CIA and White House passed the ball back and forth, after hearings Thursday and Friday reinforced the notion it was “crystal clear” that the CIA knew immediately that the assault in Libya was a terrorist attack. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who attended the hearings, confirmed Sunday that the CIA’s original story named al Qaeda or a related group as being behind the attack.
Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser, responded on behalf of the White House on Saturday when he told reporters on board Air Force One that the administration didn’t “heavily edit” the CIA’s talking points, making only one edit: changing the word “consulate” to “mission.” “Other than that,” Reuters reports Rhodes as saying, “we worked off the points that were provided by the intelligence community, so I can’t speak to any other edits that may have been made” — such as removing the al Qaeda reference.
So, where did Rice’s “blame the video” story originate, and why are we still asking that question two months later? Plenty still have questions.
Sen. Diane Feinstein to the rescue? The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee has said that she will investigate.
In the meantime, others have their theories as to who changed the talking points, as well as why Amb. Rice was sent forward.
Of course the buck stops with the president, but it appears that bill will be passed around a few more hands while Obama is overseas. We’ll do our best to keep an eye on it.