How The State Department Got Involved In Editing The Benghazi Talking Points
Last night Allahpundit wondered why the State Department’s spokesperson, Victoria Neuland, was involved in editing the now infamous Benghazi Talking Points.
Fast forward to today and Yahoo! is in the process of digitizing the emails and organizing them as if they were in your inbox. It’s a brilliant idea and makes them very relevant to a big story. They are about 25% of the way through the emails but we get our first hint of how State got involved.
An email from Tommy Vietor (Then a member of Obama’s NSC staff) seems to be the first inclusion of State into the conversation (email on 9/14 at 6:21pm):
I know you’re trying to move these fast so here’s an initial round of edits. One small tweak in sentence 3 of bullet 1 for added clarity. Denis would also like to make sure the highlighted portions are full coordinated with the State Department in the event that they get inquiries.
It’s possible that “Denis” is White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, though that’s just a guess. It maybe someone else on the White House NSC staff.
Neuland’s first contribution to the list is to question why the CIA is pointing to Ansar al Sharia as being involved (9/14, Neuland email 7″39 pm).
I just had a convo with [CIA OPA] and I now understand that these are being prepared to give to Members of Congress to use with the media.
On that basis, I have serious concerns about ail the parts highlighted below, and arming members of Congress to start making assertions to the media that we ourselves are not making because we don’t want to prejudice the investigation.
In same vein, why do we want Hill to be fingering Ansar al Sharia, when we aren’t doing that ourselves until we have investigation results… and the penultimate point could be abused by Members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings so why do we want to feed that either? Concerned…
Depending on the rest of the emails, as Robert notes, State does have intelligence resources but they do not appear to be the basis of State’s “contributions” to the process. State is simply making a political case to narrowing the talking points to provide some political shaping of the points.
The introduction of this political element was at the direction of the White House.