White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has repeatedly said the talking points blaming the attack in Benghazi, Libya on a YouTube video came from the intelligence community.
But Congressman Mark Meadows isn't so sure.
Meadows (R-NC) says his reading of the recently-released emails between Administration officials leads him in another direction.
Judicial Watch sued to obtain the documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
"If you look through the FOIA documents, the head of the CIA -when they were revising the talking points- sent an email back to Ben Rhodes and said, 'Are these okay?'"
Meadows believes it indicates that the talking points did not originate within the CIA.
"Instead of just putting out a statement saying, 'These are the talking points we're going to use,' it's obviously a back-and-forth exchange which would implicate the White House," he said.
Here is an image of what Meadows is talking about. The red box was written first, and is believed to be from the Deputy CIA Director Mike Morrell.
Meadows says he expects more documents to come out as part of a special Congressional probe into the matter.
Pushing narratives (and lies)
It's not shocking or unique for the Obama White House to craft talking points and messages in advance of media interviews.
But exactly how far does the Administration go?
Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is out with a new book, and claims the White House told him to lie about whether Social Security would add to the deficit.
“I remember during one Roosevelt Room prep session before I appeared on the Sunday shows, I objected when Dan Pfeiffer wanted me to say Social Security didn’t contribute to the deficit. It wasn’t a main driver of our future deficits, but it did contribute. Pfeiffer said the line was a ‘dog whistle’ to the left, a phrase I had never heard before. He had to explain that the phrase was code to the Democratic base, signaling that we intended to protect Social Security.”
Of course, it's hard to believe Geithner. He did, after all utter the lie he claims the White House gave him. He's also accused of lying in this book about other stuff.
Another interesting point to raise concerning the emails obtained by Judicial Watch -- officials seemed very interested in the media coverage of the Benghazi story, but don't want their reactions known.
Take a look, and note the Subject line:
These comments went on for another page and a half. Perhaps longer. (It's kind of hard to tell, given everything is redacted.)
Why are all these redacted when they are labeled unclassified?
What did the FOX News story contain that prompted such secret discussion? Or maybe the comments are packed with the sort of anti-FOX venom you're likely to find in the leftwing Daily Kos comment section.
There was also an ABC News story that seemed to cause some concern:
Even before Defense Secretary Leon Panetta contradicted the initial story about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, today, Obama administration officials told ABC News they were concerned after the White House began pushing the line that the attack was spontaneous and not the work of terrorists.
Events were too uncertain, and suspicions had been aroused, officials said.
Panetta today said that the attack that killed four Americans on the anniversary of 9/11 was not only carried out by terrorists — it was pre-meditated.
“As we determined the details of what took place there and how that attack took place,” Panetta told reporters, “it became clear that there were terrorists who had planned that attack.”
The White House first suggested the attack was spontaneous — the result of an anti-Muslim video that incited mobs throughout the region.
“Let’s be clear, these protests were in reaction to a video that had spread to the region,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said on September 14.
When ABC News pressed Carney on whether that included the Benghazi attack, in which U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American men were killed, Carney said, “we certainly don’t know. We don’t know otherwise. We have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack.”
Given all this background, it's not terribly surprising that both Morrell and Panetta have endorsed the creation of the House Select Committee to investigate Benghazi.