Issa: Who in State Department Leadership Changed the Benghazi Talking Points?

Posted: Aug 09, 2013 8:20 AM
Issa: Who in State Department Leadership Changed the Benghazi Talking Points?
After the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked on September 11, 2012, the State Department went into panic mode about how to explain what happened to the American people. Somehow, talking points blaming a YouTube video and a random protest that spun out of control for what was a known attack, were developed. Five days after the attack, former U.S. Ambassador and current White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice went on five different Sunday news shows and misled the American people about what happened in Benghazi.

We've known for months now that what Rice said is false. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knew at 2 a.m. on the day of the incident that what happened was in fact an attack and that there was no protest.

Now, after months of investigation and stonewalling, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa has sent a letter to former State Department Spokesman Victoria Nuland about the development of talking points in the aftermath of the attack. Issa specifically asks Nuland why emails seem to indicate using misleading information in order to avoid making the State Department look bad since multiple security warnings had been given prior to the attack in Benghazi and were ignored.

"The documents the White House released on May 15, 2013, did not clarify who at the State Department expressed reservations about certain aspects of the talking points, including language that made clear the State Department had received prior warnings of threats in the region and was aware of previous attacks on foreign interests in eastern Libya, and that extremists linked to al Qaida may have participated in the attacks. One of your e-mails made clear that some of your colleagues at the State Department headquarters shared these concerns. You wrote that changes to the talking points did not 'resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership,'" Issa wrote in a letter to Nuland.

Issa is requesting Nuland clarify what aspects of the talking points she, and those above her, were concerned about. He has asked for all of Nuland's emails from her government accounts and any personal accounts involving official State Department business from September 11, 2012 through September 16, 2012.

"Your e-mail makes clear that Department leadership shared concerns with you about the draft talking points. It is my hope and expectation that the documents I am requesting will identify those concerns, and whose concerns they were," Issa wrote.

Nuland has until August 15, 2013 to comply.