White House caught in a web of Benghazi lies?

Plot thickens over edited talking points


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," November 19, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


AMBASSADOR SUSAN RICE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: The information, the best information and the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack. That what happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo, as a consequence of the video --


SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Now what you just heard was the centerpiece of the White House's Benghazi talking points. But as David Petraeus testified on Friday, by the time that Susan Rice appeared on five Sunday talk shows, five days after the 9/11 attack to distribute misinformation about this YouTube video, hits agency had already supplied guidance to the administration clearly identifying Benghazi as a terrorist attack.

However, from the time that guidance went from the White House to the hands of Susan Rice, something had dramatically changed, and references to this being the work of Al Qaeda had, in fact, been scrubbed.

Now a spokesman for the National Security Council is now denying that Obama aides had anything to do with this, quote, "apparent edit," but the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee disagrees and says somebody inside the administration had to be responsible for altering these talking points. Watch this.


REP. MIKE ROGERS, R-MI.: The intelligence community had it right, and they had it right early.

It went to the so called deputies committee that's populated by appointees from the administration. That's where the narrative changed.


HANNITY: All right, the bottom line, we, you need to know who changed these talking points. And here with more on that, the author of the "Secrets of the FBI," chief Washington correspondent for newsmax.com, Ronald Kessler is back along with the former assistant secretary of defense, Bing West is with us as well.

All right, this is very frustrating to me because I feel we've been lied to. Here we have this event happened almost instantaneously Petraeus knows what happened. The Libyan president told us within a day what had happened. People on the ground told us what had happened. The State Department watched in real time. Five days after, Susan Rice didn't know what happened and two weeks later, the president couldn't say definitively it was a terrorist attack. Is that plausible?

BING WEST, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Sean, there's no reason to have the argument in a way because every day the president is given a daily brief by the CIA. So all one has to do in one of these intelligence committees is say well, let me see the brief that the president received on those days.

It's either going to be in there or it's not. The problem is when the White House doesn't want to even reveal what was in the brief, and the idea I that they used mortars against us that night and somebody says it's a spontaneous mob, it doesn't make sense.

HANNITY: I said that from day one. I said this, Ron, in the beginning, so we have a spontaneous event and they just happened to have mortars and RPGs and they're firing. Spontaneously they had them in their hip pocket. That didn't make sense from the get-go.

RONALD KESSLER, AUTHOR AND JOURNALIST: You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure this out. It's clear that the CIA had the correct story. It's clear that the White House put out these people. They were representing the White House. The White House was calling the shots. The White House was trying to cover up the fact that there was a terrorist attack on 9/11. If you doubt that, look at what President Obama said several times trying to claim that a YouTube video was involved. So the president himself was covering up what the CIA was reporting.

HANNITY: You see, this is key what you're saying here. You're saying that the president himself also had to have known. There's no way that he didn't know.


HANNITY: That means he made the conscious decision to mislead the American people.

WEST: I wouldn't go that far because we don't know the intervening. All we should be able to do is say please just reveal the talking points that you were given, Mr. President, on the first day and track it from there, so that one doesn't have to speculate. One can say where is it because it's black and white.

HANNITY: Why wouldn't they edit that if they edited the talking points?

WEST: Because hundreds of people would know now. That exists. That document exists somewhere, and if General Petraeus, the CIA director, has come out and said this is what I said, either he's not telling the truth -- and I don't believe that he would not tell the truth -- or that document exists.

HANNITY: Well, the president knew, Ron, within an hour and 18 minutes. He was sitting in there with one of his generals. He was sitting in there with Leon Panetta, and they told him what was going on. Then this whole series of events, the president goes sleep that night, he takes off to Vegas. All these things happen, and this is all now through the prism of an election. Does it have to be connected?

KESSLER: Well, what we're seeing is the politicization of intelligence where the CIA tells the truthful story and then the White House misleads the American people just before the election. And it's just as clear cut as what's happening with the FBI investigation of General Petraeus where the Attorney General Eric Holder, claims that the FBI never shares any information about its investigations outside of the FBI. Well, that's just totally untrue. On a regular basis every week the FBI in the form of Muller meets with the president and informs him of any sensitive investigations. Also on a quarterly basis, the FBI meets with the intelligence committees, the ranking members, and informs them of sensitive investigations including, I know for example, three investigations of three congressmen, which never actually materialized into anything. But this is a routine matter.

HANNITY: Is that plausible to you that Eric Holder knew from early summer?

KESSLER: And didn't tell the president.

HANNITY: And didn't tell the president?

WEST: When you are investigating the director of the CIA?

HANNITY: Who could be compromised?

WEST: To me, that's not plausible. But the other thing, Sean, is that people haven't focused on is that the president said during the firefight while the ambassador was still missing, and he said that he directed the military to take all actions to save their lives. That is called an execute order. It exists on paper. It's not just something that the president --

HANNITY: That would exist.

WEST: It has to exist. At the same time, one of the generals said I never received such a request. So again, one can simply say well, show me the written record.

HANNITY: What about, Ron, in the end politically here, they successful pushed this off until after the election. Now I just can imagine all the truth is going to come out. It's clear with anybody with eyes to see that they were dishonest. What happens from here?

KESSLER: Well, that's a good question, especially on the FBI side because FBI agents are shocked that it appears that politics has entered into FBI decisions on the timing of the investigation.

It just happened to end on the very day after the election, and during that time, during those months, Petraeus was left in office and could have been compromised, could have been blackmailed, and so the administration was taking a risk that that might happen. That's one of the most serious aspects of this whole matter.

HANNITY: All right, guys, good to see you. Appreciate it. Thanks for being with us.

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