Published December 20, 2015
A new book claims President Obama instructed then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to blame the Benghazi terror attack on a protest over an anti-Islam film, over Clinton's objections.
The anecdote is included in the book "Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas," by Edward Klein. An excerpt was published Sunday in The New York Post.
Klein reported that, according to an unnamed Clinton legal adviser, Obama called the secretary of State late on the night of Sept. 11, 2012.
"Hillary was stunned when she heard the president talk about the Benghazi attack," the source reportedly said. "Obama wanted her to say that the attack had been a spontaneous demonstration triggered by an obscure video on the Internet that demeaned the Prophet Mohammed."
According to Klein, Clinton advised Obama that the story "isn't credible," but Obama nevertheless told Clinton to put out a State Department release. According to Klein, Bill Clinton also told his wife "that story won't hold up."
The State Department did put out a statement the night of Sept. 11 that cited "inflammatory material posted on the Internet."
Clinton herself never has publicly claimed she was pressured into citing the faulty video explanation.
Author Ken Timmerman, who reported on the same phone call in his book "Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi," on Monday cast doubt on the latest version of events -- he called this account a "desperate ploy to defend her presidential aspirations."
Timmerman claimed the "story" about the video was not "created" on the Obama-Clinton phone call. Rather, he said, "I think that's where they agreed on the story between the two of them."
In an interview with Fox News last week, however, Clinton did indicate she had personal doubts about that narrative at the time.
"This was the fog of war," Clinton said, when asked about the administration's controversial public explanation of the attack.
"My own assessment careened from the video had something to do with it, the video had nothing to do with it -- it may have affected some people, it didn't affect other people," she said in the interview with Fox News' Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren.
Clinton added: "There's no doubt terrorists were involved."
The State Department and White House all along have said they were relying on the intelligence at the time. Clinton, in the interview with Fox News, stood by prior statements that she was not aware of any reports contradicting intelligence community talking points citing the video.
U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, State Department official Sean Smith and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty died in the attack.