The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. —THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1788

White House denies stripping mention of Al Qaeda from CIA talking points

The plot thickens. A day after former CIA director David Petraeus testified in closed hearings before the House and Senate intelligence committees that references to “Al Qaeda involvement” were deleted from his agency’s original talking points, the White House reacted. Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, the New York Post writes, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes insisted:

The only edit that was made by the White House and also by the State Department was to change the word ‘consulate’ to the word ‘diplomatic facility,’ since the facility in Benghazi was not formally a consulate. Other than that, we were guided by the points that were provided by the intelligence community. So I can’t speak to any other edits that may have been made.

Rhodes went on to allow as how the president, given the gravity of the charges that his administration attempted to cover up the truth about the assault for political reasons, pledged to do his level best to ferret out the individual or group who made the changes.

Oh, wait a minute: No, he didn’t. In fact, he said absolutely nothing about the conflicting accounts given by his administration and the former CIA director. And neither has the president.

Obama seems to think that Rhoades’s denial puts the matter to rest. He is wrong. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) has reaffirmed Congress’s commitment to get to the bottom of this fiasco. “Somebody briefed Susan Rice,” the Post quotes him as saying, “and she said she took the best information that the intelligence community had.” But the story that she told at five different Sunday news venues—that the attacks were the result of spontaneous mob reactions to an insulting film—never jibed with the facts presented to the White House in State Department emails.

In fact, the only leg the administration had to stand on since the brouhaha staretd was that CIA director David Petraeus supported the version of the facts in Rice’s account. Now that Petraeus is saying that he knew and claimed from the outset that the attacks were an act of terrorism, the administration stands naked and alone.

The truth will out.

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Howard Portnoy has written for HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.

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