Lynch: Benghazi Talking Points Were ‘Scrubbed’

Mass. Dem. acknowledges Obama Admin altered Benghazi talking points

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D., Mass.) acknowledged that the Obama Administration's talking points for Susan Rice's Sunday show appearances following the attack on the U.S. mission in Benhgazi were "scrubbed" on "Fox News Sunday":

CHRIS WALLCE: Congressman Lynch, weren't the talking points the administration put out in advance of Susan Rice's appearances on those five Sunday shows, weren't those talking points scrubbed?

STEPHEN LYNCH: They certainly weren't accurate. I don't know what the process was there, but absolutely they were false, they were wrong. There were no protests outside of the Benghazi compound there. This was a deliberate and strategic attack on the consulate there. So any statements that this was sort of like the — you know, the — the other protests that we saw in Cairo and other embassies, that was not this type of case.

CHRIS WALLACE: So briefly, and we're running out of time, Congressman Lynch, how do you explain the fact that that Sunday U.N. Ambassador Rice came on this show and four other Sunday shows, never mentioned the Al-Qaeda extremists, which had been scrubbed from the — from the talking points, but did mention a reaction to the anti-Islam video which had never been in any of the talking points?

STEPHEN LYNCH: Well, it was scrubbed. It was totally inaccurate. You're absolutely right. There's no excuse for that. It was false information. What they tried to do is harmonize what happened in Benghazi with what happened everywhere else across the middle east, and that was wrong.

Lynch's admission comes after Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard reported the initial draft of CIA talking points on Benghazi contained references to Al-Qaida that were removed prior to Susan Rice's Sunday talk show appearances.

According to Hayes, State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland is so far the most senior named State Department official with culpability in actively attempting to purge references to extremists from the talking points:

The talking points were first distributed to officials in the interagency vetting process at 6:52 p.m. on Friday. Less than an hour later, at 7:39 p.m., an individual identified in the House report only as a "senior State Department official" responded to raise "serious concerns" about the draft. That official, whom The Weekly Standard has confirmed was State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland, worried that members of Congress would use the talking points to criticize the State Department for "not paying attention to Agency warnings."

In an attempt to address those concerns, CIA officials cut all references to Ansar al Sharia and made minor tweaks. But in a follow-up email at 9:24 p.m., Nuland wrote that the problem remained and that her superiors—she did not say which ones—were unhappy. The changes, she wrote, did not "resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership," and State Department leadership was contacting National Security Council officials directly. Moments later, according to the House report, "White House officials responded by stating that the State Department’s concerns would have to be taken into account." One official—Ben Rhodes, The Weekly Standard is told, a top adviser to President Obama on national security and foreign policy—further advised the group that the issues would be resolved in a meeting of top administration officials the following morning at the White House.

Full interview: