Carney Claims Talking Point Edits Were Merely 'Stylistic'

ABC's Karl to Carney: Changes look much more than stylistic

Spokesman Jay Carney claimed the only edits made by the White House to talking points after the Benghazi terrorist attack were "stylistic and non-substantive" Wednesday.

"They corrected the description of the building or the facility in Benghazi from consulate to diplomatic facility, and the like," Carney said.

ABC's Jonathan Karl said the changes looked "much more than stylistic" with references to security concerns before the attack and al-Qaeda terrorists.

"What remains true to this day is the intelligence community drafted and redrafted these points, and I think that is what the deputy director of the CIA has said," Carney said. "And the fact that there is inputs from others doesn't change the fact that the CIA or the intelligence community drafts these points consistent with what they know."

A recent report in The Weekly Standard strongly refutes Carney's statement. Stephen Hayes wrote that intelligence officials deliberately sought to muddle the picture that al Qaeda-linked terrorists were involved in the attacks, despite knowing they were:

The frantic process that produced the changes to the talking points took place over a 24-hour period just one day before Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, made her now-famous appearances on the Sunday television talk shows. [...]

The fighting in Benghazi continued for another several hours, so top Obama administration officials were told even as the fighting was taking place that U.S. diplomats and intelligence operatives were likely being attacked by al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists. A cable sent the following day, September 12, by the CIA station chief in Libya, reported that eyewitnesses confirmed the participation of Islamic militants and made clear that U.S. facilities in Benghazi had come under terrorist attack. It was this fact, along with several others, that top Obama officials would work so hard to obscure.

Carney also struggled to even find his own talking points at the press conference: