Remember playing “telephone” as a kid? You know, the game in which your friend whispers “My cat is white” into your ear, then you repeat the same thing to the person next to you and so on until the last person has to say the phrase out loud? The problem is, the phrase is never the same at the end. “My cat is white” becomes “Your dad is turned on by sheep” after about 15 or 20 repetitions. Well, that is pretty much the way the Benghazi story released to the public ended up being about an obscure soft porn video that had nothing to do with reality.
On September 14, 2012 at 1129 hours, a confidential communication from CCA* at the Office of Congressional Affairs (OCA) was sent to the Department of Investigations (DI) regarding a request for information from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) so that they could answer the questions being asked them by various media outlets. This White Paper was also cc’d to the Director of the CIA (DCIA) and the Office of the Director of the CIA (ODCIA). The original question or statement has been redacted, but some of the itemized requests give one a hint as to what the topic being addressed was.
Part of this initial communication addressed “press guidance”, Green on Blue violence and the destruction of documents at the consulate. The latter noted “contact State Legal Affairs” for questions. They never explained whether the destruction of documents occurred during the attack, after the attack in Benghazi, or pertained to potentially destroying existing documents located at the Embassy in Tripoli. The types of documents in question are unknown.
The second portion of this paper was directed towards the DCIA and concerned “cable(s) to (redacted) warning of protests linked to the film and response” and “cable(s) to stations on 9/11 security”. This, too, was not elaborated upon. Had they sent cables regarding these two issues in the days prior to the protests in Egypt and the attack in Benghazi, or were they asking that cables be created to make it appear so?
After a bit of back and forth via heavily redacted emails, it becomes obvious that they are formulating the talking points to give to HPSCI. They are also developing the way they want the attack to be presented on the Sunday morning TV circuit. I apologize for the “they” references, but there are so many agencies involved in the preparation of the talking points that I have decided a collective “they” is the best way to go.
At 1439:49 hours on the 14th, the original talking points are finally revealed in their entirety:
(I apologize for the readability of the emails. If you need a clearer copy, you can access them at the website I provided at the end of this post.)
Going under the assumption that the previously redacted information was the list of possible talking points spelled out here, the comments made in some of the redacted emails begin to make sense.
- 1439:49 hours from NE – “Second tick says we know extremists with ties to AQ participated in the attack, which implies complicity in the deaths of the American officers. Do we know this?”
- 1452:57 hours from National Clandestine Service (NCS) – “Good question – I’ll defer to CIA CTA (cc’d) given the CT angle.” It was also noted that the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and the Office of Public Affairs (OPA) were “added in”.
- 1519 hours from CIA Chief Technical Advisor (CTA) – “Good point that it could be interpreted this way – perhaps better stated that we know they (Al Qaeda?) participated in the protests. We do not know who was responsible for the deaths.” (emphasis added)
I believe the most important point in the original list was the Fifth tick (to use their terminology) that mentioned the previous attacks against foreign interests and that it was possible the American properties had been under watch for a while.
At 1529:32 hours the OGC emailed the bowl of alphabet soup with the following cautionary message:
“Folks, I know there is a hurry to get this out, but we need to hold it long enough to ascertain whether providing it conflicts with express instructions from NSS/DOJ/FBI that, in light of the criminal investigation, we are not to generate statements with assessments as to who did this, etc. – even internally, not to mention for public release…”
Okay, WHAT criminal investigation? This was not a criminal act. It was an act of terrorism. In my opinion, this is where the cover-up really begins to take form. Why would the DOJ need to be in the loop on something that occurred in a foreign country and was committed by foreign nationals who were part of a terrorist group?
Tick One – Talking points are revised to indicate that the Embassy was warned about threats on September 10th. This version of the talking points was produced by the CIA OPA. In the Fifth tick, a very interesting addition was made to the talking points. Nowhere else is it mentioned that “numerous pieces” had been authored by “the Agency” concerning threats to Benghazi and eastern Libya.
It would be difficult to believe that the attack was the result of a spontaneous reaction to the protests in Egypt and a ridiculous video if you take this information into consideration. It would also be hard to accept as true that no one in the administration knew there was trouble brewing that might cost American lives.
At 1821 hours the word CAIRO was inserted into the first tick after “Embassy”. Oversight, clarification or cover-up? Was the Embassy being threatened really the one in Cairo, or were the threats actually directed to Tripoli?
At 1916 hours, Victoria Nuland (former Spokesperson for the State Department), asked the following question:
“Are these for open or closed hearing? If open, the line about “knowing” there were extremists among the demonstrators will come back to us at podium – how do we know, who were they, etc…So I’ll need answers to those if we deploy that line, tx.”
At 1939 hours, Nuland wrote this:
“I just had a convo with (illegible) 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 all the parts highlighted below [ticks three and five in their entirety], 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 the 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…”
So, the concern was not for the families of those who were killed, or those still working in Libya, or the injured (if there were any – we don’t know) – the concern was about being caught with their pants down which opened the door to the attacks in the first place.
At 2134 hours the White House (through Benjamin Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting) chimed in with this:
“There is a ton of wrong information getting out into the public domain from Congress and people who are not particularly informed. Insofar as we have firmed up assessments that don’t compromise Intel or the Investigation, we need to have the capability to correct the record, as there are significant policy and messaging ramifications that would flow from a hardened mis-impression.” (emphasis added)
Policy and messaging…really? Four dead Americans and they were worried about policy and messaging? But, who would have expected anything different from this administration…
After all of the back and forth, they finally decided on three ticks. This is the final draft:
These were the talking points to be given to Susan Rice for the Sunday talk show circuit. The following exchange shows that this was the game plan all the players agreed upon:
So, in all of this bullshit, when was it decided that they would blame the video and why (aside from probation violations) was the filmmaker arrested? There is so much more to uncover. I have just touched the tip of the iceberg today.
If you wish to read all 100 pages of redacted emails, here is a link to that page: