The White House denied allegations Saturday that it scrubbed terroristÂ involvement from original CIA talking points on the fatal Libya attacks — partÂ of a weekend back and forth in which both parties continued to defend theirÂ positions.
White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said only one minorÂ change was made by the Oval Office.
“The only edit that was made by the White House and also by the StateÂ Department was to change the word ‘consulate’ to the word ‘diplomatic facility,’Â since the facility in Benghazi was not formally a consulate,” Rhodes toldÂ reporters Saturday aboard Air Force One.
“We were provided with points by the intelligence community that representedÂ their assessment. The only edit made by the White House was the factual editÂ about how to refer to the facility,” Rhodes also said.
His remarks came a day after former CIA Director David Petraeus told HouseÂ and Senate intelligence committees that the agency’s original talking pointsÂ suggested the Sept. 11 attacks involved Al Qaeda affiliates and sympathizers — including the Libyan group Ansar al-Shariah.
However, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice made no mention of terrorists whenÂ appearing Sept. 16 on several TV shows to say the attacks in Benghazi, Libya,Â were “spontaneous” and appeared to be sparked by angry protests over anÂ anti-Islamic film.
Rice purportedly was working off non-classified CIA talking points that hadÂ first been reviewed by the White House and other agencies including the DefenseÂ and State departments.
The attacks killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Steven and three otherÂ Americans.
Earlier on Saturday, Republican Rep. Pete King said the next step is learnÂ who changed the talking points and why.
He also suggested the House Intelligence Committee could call Rice, the U.S.Â ambassador to the United Nations, to testify.
The New York congressman told Fox News that the CIA intelligence reports wentÂ through so many administration offices that finding out who removed theÂ information that connected the attacks with terror groups will be difficult.
“The CIA had it right, and those talking points were changed,” King said.Â “It’s not going to be easy.”
King, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the otherÂ Capitol Hill committees could call Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the UnitedÂ Nations, to testify but others on Capitol Hill also must take up the effort.
“It’s up to the other committees,” he said. “We have to find out … . Clearly,Â the intelligence committee had it right. Somewhere along the line the policyÂ makers changed it.”
He said the key questions for Rice should be: Who did she speak with in theÂ intelligence committee before making her comments and who briefed her?
King suggested he’d be surprised if Rice went on national TV with just a fewÂ talking points.
“Maybe the president’s right,” he said. “We should be looking at him.”
King stuck to his argument that the Obama administration believed the warÂ against Al Qaeda was over “and this is what they wanted to present.”
California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff told Fox the existing Hill committeesÂ can handle the investigation and a special Watergate-style or select HillÂ committee is not needed in part because it would be too politicized.
The attack occurred roughly seven weeks before Election Day.
King told Fox on Friday that intelligence officials who testified in aÂ closed-door hearing a day earlier, including Director of National IntelligenceÂ James Clapper and acting CIA Director Mike Morell, said they did not know whoÂ changed the talking points.
Source: Fox News