Officials edited talking points
WASHINGTON – Authorities with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with the CIA, decided to remove the terms “attack,” “al-Qaida” and “terrorism” from unclassified guidance provided to the Obama administration several days after militants attacked the U.S. mission in Benghazi, a senior official said Tuesday.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, relied on the so-called talking points when she appeared on several Sunday TV talk shows five days after the Sept. 11 attacks in eastern Libya. She asserted that the violence, which killed four Americans, erupted out of a protest to a film made in the U.S. that mocked Islam.
Critics accused Rice and other administration officials of twisting the intelligence for political reasons when it later emerged that the CIA had concluded that the lethal assault involved militants, some of whom had links to al-Qaida’s North African affiliate. The White House has argued that Rice was relying on information provided by the CIA and other agencies and didn’t deviate from it.
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