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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Conflicting CBS Reports on when Susan Rice received talking points

Perhaps it's time for CBS to reconcile some inconsistencies in its reporting about when U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice received her talking points on the Benghazi attack. Given that Rice's appearances on five talk shows on 9/16 have become a focal point, it might be more than just a little warranted here.

First, let's go back to a November 15th CBS report. In particular, take note of the very first paragraph, which says:
CBS News has obtained the CIA talking points given to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on Sept. 15 regarding the fatal attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, four days earlier. CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan says the talking points, which were also given to members of the House intelligence committee, make no reference to terrorism being a likely factor in the assault, which left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.
 Here is the screenshot:

Now, how about the most recent CBS report, published on November 20th? It claims that Rice received her talking points on September 14th:
The head of the DNI is James Clapper, an Obama appointee. He ultimately did review the points, before they were given to Ambassador Rice and members of the House intelligence committee on Sept. 14. They were compiled the day before.
This may seem like a matter of splitting hairs but given the sensitive nature of the timeline between 9/11 and 9/16, it's a bit relevant to find out exactly when Ms. Rice received those talking points, is it not? After all, two significant things happened on September 14th. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney pointed to the now infamous anti-Muhammad video in the daily press briefing that kicked off before Noon and Hillary Clinton was at Andrews Air Force Base as the four murdered Americans arrived. While there, Hillary talked about the video being responsible.

We now know that was demonstrably false and that Hillary gave that false information at quite an unseemly time and place. According to Charles Woods, the father of Tyrone Woods, a former Navy SEAL and CIA who was among the four who were murdered, Clinton told him that the filmmaker would be arrested and prosecuted.

So, CBS, when exactly did Susan Rice receive her talking points?

Date and time please.

James Clapper in 2011: Muslim Brotherhood 'secular'; James Clapper in 2012: al-Qaeda not responsible for Benghazi

As the matter of who changed Susan Rice's talking points continues to be a bone of contention for those demanding the truth about what happened in Benghazi, the White House has apparently decided to throw Republicans a bone fragment. The person they're now saying is responsible for taking out any reference to al-Qaeda in Rice's talking points is Director of National Intelligence (DNI), James Clapper, while also saying that it wasn't him specifically.

Uh, yeah, I know.

As for the reason why references to al-Qaeda were removed...

Via CBS: intelligence source tells CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan the links to al Qaeda were deemed too "tenuous" to make public, because there was not strong confidence in the person providing the intelligence. CIA Director David Petraeus, however, told Congress he agreed to release the information -- the reference to al Qaeda -- in an early draft of the talking points, which were also distributed to select lawmakers.
Does this not beg a very simple question? If references to al-Qaeda were too "tenuous" and the source did not have enough credibility to warrant running with that assessment, what genius was trusted when the narrative came out that the anti-Muhammad video was responsible? It would appear then that the source that wasn't trusted but should have been, now has more credibility and that the source that was trusted and shouldn't have been is... who?

Back to the CBS report:
"The intelligence community assessed from the very beginning that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack." DNI spokesman Shawn Turner tells CBS News. That information was shared at a classified level -- which Rice, as a member of President Obama's cabinet, would have been privy to.

An intelligence source says the talking points were passed from the CIA to the DNI, where the substantive edits were made, and then to FBI, which made more edits as part of "standard procedure."
Since the truth is so evasive because those responsible for releasing it don't seem interested in doing so, let's go with the aforementioned narrative. The extramarital affair of former CIA Director David Petraeus notwithstanding, the CIA appears to be the only entity that assessed the attack correctly by pointing to al-Qaeda. Yet, the head of the CIA is the only guy who lost his job?! This would seem to point to the possibility of the administration holding the affair over Petraeus' head until after the election.

There are some interesting questions raised in the next two paragraphs from the CBS report:
The head of the DNI is James Clapper, an Obama appointee. He ultimately did review the points, before they were given to Ambassador Rice and members of the House intelligence committee on Sept. 14. They were compiled the day before.

Brennan says her source wouldn't confirm who in the agency suggested the final edits which were signed off on by all intelligence agencies.
First, as I mentioned in an update to this post, in a previous CBS report, dated November 15th, it was claimed that Susan Rice received her talking points on September 15th but as you can see above, the most recent CBS report says she received them on September 14th.

Second, note the last sentence in the excerpt above about "all intelligence agencies" ultimately signing off on the final edits. That would include Petraeus, right? Now, what sort of thing might motivate him to "sign off" on the talking points that excluded al-Qaeda?

Administration knowledge of an extramarital affair perhaps?

As for Clapper, he has a history of denial when it comes to identifying America's enemies. When one couples his involvement in the extraction of the words "al-Qaeda" from Rice's talking points with his claim in 2011 that the Muslim Brotherhood is "largely secular", we have a bit of a trend with this guy.

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