Wednesday, August 7, 2013

CNN: Obama Shares Blame in 'Political Circus' Around Benghazi

President Barack Obama is at least partly to blame for what he calls a "political circus" surrounding last year's attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead, says CNN's John King.

In a CNN special, "The Truth About Benghazi," that aired Tuesday, King responded to Obama's complaints that political motivations are behind Congressional investigations into what happened during the attack and the administration's initial response.

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"There is no denying this: The explanations have at times been inconsistent, conflicting and inaccurate," King said.

"Exhibit A" in the debate is the Benghazi talking points then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice used on all five Sunday talk shows, blaming the attack on a spontaneous protest that was sparked by an anti-Muslim video made by an American.

"We now know the National Security Council staff was behind several edits and the State Department vigorously pushed others," King says in the special. "The first draft referenced Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qaida. The second noted repeated CIA warnings about al Qaida's presence in Benghazi. But administration emails show State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland objected to naming terror groups. She also pushed to delete reference to those threat warnings."

"Not being transparent feeds people's fears and suspicions," Gen. Michael Hayden, former CIA and NSA director, told CNN.

"There are legitimate questions about why repeated and specific warnings about the Benghazi security situation were undervalued or ignored," King writes on the CNN website. "Both lawmakers and intelligence professionals point to this weekend's unprecedented wave of Middle East and African embassy closings as, at least in part, a lesson learned from the September 11, 2012, attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans."

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