You obviously don’t want to offend Muslims in talking points about a Muslim act of terror. Next thing you know, they’ll break into one of your diplomatic missions and kill your ambassador.
Former acting CIA Director Mike Morell testified to the House Intelligence Committee that he is the one who changed the Benghazi talking points.
Morell testified today that a group of intelligence officers from the Office of Congressional Affairs, and CIA public affairs, removed a reference to al Qaeda from the talking points given to Congress.
Congressman: Just want to clarify, how does the term Al Qaeda…how would that disclose classified sources? Number 1 and then secondly, OK if we can get there, you also took out Islamic extremist… (Cross talk)
Morrell: I did not take out extremists, I took out the word Islamic in front of extremist and I took it out for two reasons. Most importantly I took out because we were dealing with protests and demonstrations across much of the Muslim world as a result of the video and the last thing I wanted to do was to was to do anything to further inflame those passions and so that’s why I took the word Islamic out. It was a risk judgment. The second reason I took it out was-What other kind of extremists are there in Libya?
That last observation is amusingly politically incorrect. Whistleblowing ex-CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson has a wider summary of the testimony.
The controversy took place against the backdrop of a Presidential election campaign in which President Obama had claimed al Qaeda was on the run. At today’s hearing, Morell stated that the C.I.A. believed then, and that he still believes, “some of the attackers” were “affiliated with al Qaeda.” That information, too, was edited out of the talking points but Morell said he was not responsible for that word change.
“I did not take al Qaeda from the talking points,” Morell said. When asked who did, he answered, “The group of officers from our office of Congressional affairs and our office of public affairs.” Previously, government officials had vehemently denied that any public affairs officials made any edits to the talking points.
So the buck keeps being passed around.