When it became clear last fall that the CIAís now discredited Benghazi talking points were flawed, the White House said repeatedly the documents were put together almost entirely by the intelligence community, but White House documents reviewed by Congress suggest a different story.
ABC News has obtained 12 different versions of the talking points that show they were extensively edited as they evolved from the drafts first written entirely by the CIA to the final version distributed to Congress and to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice before she appeared on five talk shows the Sunday after that attack.
White House emails reviewed by ABC News suggest the edits were made with extensive input from the State Department. The edits included requests from the State Department that references to the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Ansar al-Sharia be deleted as well references to CIA warnings about terrorist threats in Benghazi in the months preceding the attack.
That would appear to directly contradict what White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said about the talking points in November.
"Those talking points originated from the intelligence community. They reflect the ICís 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 íconsulateí to ídiplomatic facilityí because íconsulateí was inaccurate."
Summaries of White House and State Department emails - some of which were first published by Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard - show that the State Department had extensive input into the editing of the talking points.
State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland raised specific objections to this paragraph drafted by the CIA in its earlier versions of the talking points:
"The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al-Qaíida 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 Ambassadorís convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks."
In an email to officials at the White House and the intelligence agencies, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland took issue with including that information because it "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 Ö"
The paragraph was entirely deleted.
Like the final version used by Ambassador Rice on the Sunday shows, the CIAís first drafts said the attack appeared to have been "spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo" but the CIA version went on to say, "That being said, we do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qaíida participated in the attack." The draft went on to specifically name the al Qaeda-affiliated group named Ansar al-Sharia.
Once again, Nuland objected to naming the terrorist groups because "we donít want to prejudice the investigation."
In response, an NSC staffer coordinating the review of the talking points wrote back to Nuland, "The FBI did not have major concerns with the points and offered only a couple minor suggestions."
After the talking points were edited slightly to address Nulandís concerns, she responded that changes did not go far enough.
"These changes donít resolve all of my issues or those of my buildings leadership," Nuland wrote.
In an email dated 9/14/12 at 9:34 p.m. - three days after the attack and two days before Ambassador Rice appeared on the Sunday shows - Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes wrote an email saying the State Departmentís concerns needed to be addressed.
"We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we donít want to undermine the FBI investigation. We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting."
After that meeting, which took place Saturday morning at the White House, the CIA drafted the final version of the talking points - deleting all references to al Qaeda and to the security warnings in Benghazi prior to the attack.
Amid Russia tensions, US nuclear bombers to conduct military drills in Sweden 2015-05-28 4:23
The Pentagon is planning to send nuclear bombers to Sweden for a military exercise next month amid growing tensions with Russia over the Ukraine crisis.
The warplanes, the B-52 Stratofortress, will participate in a naval exercise on June 13, Swedish general Karl Engelbrektson said.
They are set to fly from the United States nonstop and simulate a drop of anti-ship mines near ...
'Netanyahu to US: Give 50% more money, we'll shut up' 2015-05-28 4:55
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is asking the United States to provide Tel Aviv 50 percent more money for weapons and ‚Äúwe‚Äôll shut up‚ÄĚ on Iran nuclear talks, an author and investigative journalist in Philadelphia says.
Dave Lindorff made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Wednesday while commenting on a report which says Israel has asked Washington ...
Britain To Outlaw "Hate" and "Extremism" 2015-05-28 1:53
UK home secretary Theresa May : "But what we're talking about is they key values that underline our society and are being undermined by the extremists. Values like democracy, a belief in democracy, a belief in the rule of law. A belief in tolerance ...eh... for other people. Equality and acceptance for other people's faith and religions.
One of the great ...
Killer robots will leave humans 'utterly defenceless' warns professor 2015-05-28 1:08
Robots, called LAWS ‚Äď lethal autonomous weapons systems ‚Äď will be able to kill without human intervention.
Killer robots which are being developed by the US military ‚Äėwill leave humans utterly defenceless‚Äė, an academic has warned.
Two programmes commissioned by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are seeking to create drones which can track and kill targets even when ...
Here's how much corporations paid US senators to fast-track the TPP bill 2015-05-28 1:21
Critics of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership are unlikely to be silenced by an analysis of the flood of money it took to push the pact over its latest hurdle.
A decade in the making, the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is reaching its climax and as Congress hotly debates the biggest trade deal in a generation, its backers have turned on the ...