Benghazi talking points revised 12 times to omit terror references

As a new scrutiny is placed on the talking points released after the attack on the Benghazi consulate, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl has uncovered information that shows 12 different versions and how they were extensively edited from the initial CIA version.

Emails from the White House and State Department reviewed by Karl show that references to the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Ansar al-Sharia, as well references to terrorist threats, were to be deleted.

That directly contradicts White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s comments about the Benghazi talking points in November, according to ABC.

“Those talking points originated from the intelligence community.  They reflect the IC’s best assessments of what they thought had happened,” Carney told reporters at the White House press briefing on November 28, 2012.  “The White House and the State Department have made clear that the single adjustment that was made to those talking points by either of those two institutions were changing the word ‘consulate’ to ‘diplomatic facility’ because ‘consulate’ was inaccurate.”

The effort to revise the talking points appeared have significant input from State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. She raised specific objections to this CIA-drafted paragraph contained in earlier versions, which was eventually deleted entirely.

“The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al-Qa’ida in Benghazi and eastern Libya.  These noted that, since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador’s convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks.”

Nuland reportedly objected to naming the terrorist groups because “we don’t want to prejudice the investigation.” In an email to White House officials, Nuland said including that information “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either?  Concerned …”

Watch the ABC News report here.

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