The intelligence community - not the White House, State Department or Justice Department - was responsible for the substantive changes made to the talking points distributed for government officials who spoke publicly about the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, the spokesman for the director of national intelligence said Monday.Why does this matter? Well, the guts of the Republican claim that Benghazi represents a "scandal" revolves around the charge that somehow the Obama Administration altered the initial intelligence reports for political reasons, only a few weeks before the election, to improve the President's chances. This has always been a desperate, scurrilous, and dangerous charge made by a Republican party that was going down to defeat and still, today, is looking for anything it can find to discredit a President newly strengthened by a strong Election Day mandate from the majority of voters.
The unclassified talking points on Libya, developed several days after the the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, were not substantively changed by any agency outside of the intelligence community, according to the spokesman, Shawn Turner.
From the same article:
"First, the information about individuals linked to al Qaeda was derived from classified sources," the official said. "Second, when links were so tenuous - as they still are - it makes sense to be cautious before pointing fingers so you don't set off a chain of circular and self-reinforcing assumptions. Third, it is important to be careful not to prejudice a criminal investigation in its early stages."Now we have further confirmaton, this time from the director of national intelligence, that there was no politicization by the Administration of the intelligence information. The information -- which Susan Rice delivered to the country on the Sunday talk shows- - came lock, stock, and barrel from the intelligence community.
Some Republican members of Congress suggested the change came from within the Obama administration - from the White House, the Justice Department, or another government agency.
I'd like to think this will help lance the boil of this Republican outcry over Benghazi. We'll have to see. I'll just leave it at that.
PS-Please check out my new book Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity, published last month by Potomac Books, where I discuss Barack Obama's ideas on racial, ethnic, and national identity in detail, and contrast his inclusive vision to language coming from Mitt Romney, Rush Limbaugh and (some) others on the right. You can read a review by DailyKos's own Greg Dworkin here.