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White House denies allegations it scrubbed terrorist involvement from CIA talking points

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 19th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The White House denies allegations it scrubbed terrorist involvement from original CIA talking points in regards to fatal Benghazi attacks. Both the CIA and the Obama administration have continued to defend their positions.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes says that there was only one minor change made by the White House. "The only edit that was made by the White House and also by the State Department was to change the word 'consulate' to the word 'diplomatic facility,' since the facility in Benghazi was not formally a consulate," Rhodes told reporters on Air Force One this past weekend.

"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 added.

Former CIA Director David Petraeus in the meantime told House and Senate intelligence committees that the agency's original talking points implied that the September 11 attacks involved Al Qaeda affiliates and sympathizers, which included the Libyan group Ansar al-Shariah.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice made no mention of terrorists last week on several news programs to say the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, were "spontaneous" and appeared to be sparked by angry protests over an anti-Islamic film.

The Benghazi attacks killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Steven and three other Americans.

Republican Rep. Pete King had earlier said the next step is learn who changed the talking points and why, suggesting the House Intelligence Committee could call Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to testify.

Speaking to Fox News, the New York congressman that the CIA intelligence reports went through so many administration offices that finding out who removed the information that connected the attacks with terror groups will be difficult.

"The CIA had it right, and those talking points were changed," King said. "It's not going to be easy."

A member of the House Intelligence Committee, King said the other Capitol Hill committees could call Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to testify but others on Capitol Hill also must take up the effort.

"It's up to the other committees," he said. "We have to find out . Clearly, the intelligence committee had it right. Somewhere along the line the policy makers changed it."

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