E-Mails Show State Department Made 12 Revisions to Benghazi Talking Points, Deleted CIA Warning and References to al-Qaeda

State Department officials altered talking points about the September attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, to omit references to terrorism warnings previously issued by the Central Intelligence Agency. Jonathan Karl of ABC News reports that State Department official Victoria Nuland raised objections to this paragraph in the original analysis of the attack provided by the CIA:

“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.”

E-mails show that Nuland objected to the paragraph because she was “concerned” that it might “feed” criticism from Congress who would “beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings.” ABC News published an eight-page document showing that 12 revisions were made to the talking points over the course of 24 hours Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14-15. One crucial change — made in the third version of the document, made at 4:42 p.m. Sept. 14 — changed the word “attacks” to “demonstrations,” and deleted references to al-Qaeda that had been in the CIA’s original assessment.