Last night, the White House dumped 100 pages of emails related to the Benghazi talking points. A few things. First of all, how hard was that? Congress has been begging for these emails for months and they suddenly show up now? This leads to my second point, which is that I believe they were dumped yesterday in order to distract us from this IRS scandal. Keep in mind that the emails were released to the public just one hour before Obama addressed the nation and announced the resignation of the acting IRS commissioner. This was designed perfectly to distract. And finally, are these even all the emails we need to see? It's clear that there is still A LOT of information that we don't have. For example, the two days immediately following the attacks (67 hours) … where are any emails from that time period? Or how about conversations that are referenced in the dumped emails between the White House and the State Department?
What is absolutely clear is that Jay Carney is a liar. Based on these emails we know that it is categorically untrue that the White House and the State Department only made minor changes of the word “consulate” to “diplomatic post.” Jay Carney claimed that as recently as May 10th, just six days ago!
The fact is that the CIA had the talking points right, with references to "Islamic extremists with ties to Al Qaeda" and repeated warnings to our government.
We know that John Brennan, who at the time was the Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and Assistant to the President, was personally involved in the editing process.
We know that State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland expressed repeated concerns about the talking points. The CIA notes in the emails, “The State Department had major reservations with much or most of the document.” When presented with a revised version, Nuland continued to push back writing, "These don't resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership.” Nuland's involvement does also include concerns, which we learned about last week, that the original talking point about repeated warnings “could be abused by members (of Congress) to beat the State Department for not paying attention to agency warnings so why do we want to feed that either? Concerned..."
We know that CIA Chief at the time, General Petraeus, felt the talking points had been so watered down to the point where, “Frankly, I’d just as soon not use this.”
Perhaps most blatant observation about the emails is what isn't in them. Nowhere at any point in any of the versions is there any mention of a YouTube video. In other words, that narrative did not come from intelligence from the CIA. Blaming Benghazi on a YouTube video for weeks to come was a political decision, not based on intelligence but based on a desperate pursuit to maintain power.
There is still more to learn about these talking points. Other big questions related to Benghazi remain the following: Who gave the two stand down orders during the attack and where was the President when all this was happening?
Today, after making us wait over 45 minutes for his joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Turkey, Obama went out of his way to address Benghazi ahead of the press' questions. He says that he is taking “a series of steps that were recommended by the review board” to review security, improve training and increase intelligence for our diplomats around the world in response to “this incident.” By “incident” he is referring to the deliberate terrorist attack in Benghazi, which led to the death of four dead Americans.
Nevertheless, Democrats remain incredulous that people like you and I, along with some members of Congress, are determined to get to the bottom of all this. Harry Reid told reporters just the other day that Republicans are “hyperventilating about Benghazi.” He says that the President is right to call this a “sideshow.” I'm sure the parents, families and friends of Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Ty Woods and Glen Doherty beg to differ, Mr. Reid.