Congressional Democrats on Sunday distanced themselves from the Obama administration’s explanation of the Benghazi, Libya, attacks in the immediate aftermath of the fatal strikes, amid mounting evidence that suggests the information was revised to intentionally mislead Americans.
The original explanation of the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya, was written by CIA officials, then revised by State Department and White House officials, according to news reports and witness testimony made available to Fox News.
Removed from the CIA's so-called talking points were references to “Islamic extremists” and Al Qaeda in Libya. And five days later, Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, made the Sunday talk show rounds to say the attacks were “demonstrations” sparked by protests in Egypt over an anti-Islamic video on YouTube.
However, the video is never mentioned in the numerous talking-points drafts, according to a Weekly Standard story last week, based in part on a 43-page House report and records of official emails.
“Well, it was scrubbed,” Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Steve Lynch told “Fox News Sunday.” “It was totally inaccurate. There's no excuse for that. It was false information. And what they try to do is harmonize what happened in Benghazi with what happened everywhere else across the Middle East.”
Lynch also acknowledged the talking points were likely revised to reflect President Obama’s decry – with his re-election bid in the balance -- that “Al Qaeda is on the run.”
Maryland Democratic Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, also acknowledged Sunday the facts as told by Rice were wrong.
“At the time, as it turns out” the information was incorrect, he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation”
Ruppersberger, who was briefed by the CIA about the attacks in immediate aftermath, asked agency officials what congressional leaders could tell the public, according to The Weekly Standard story.
On Sunday, he also said he welcomes a House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee hearing this week in which Greg Hicks, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya at the time of attacks, is expected to say Rice said the attacks didn’t appear to be “pre-meditated or pre-planned,” despite having information suggesting they were.
“That's what an investigation is about,” Ruppersberger told CBS. “Let's get the facts.”