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Todd: Released Benghazi Emails Raise More Questions

• May 16, 2013 8:29 am

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NBC political reporter Chuck Todd told "The Today Show" Thursday the released Benghazi emails raise more questions about the argument between the CIA and the State Department over the talking points, particularly given that then-CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus dismissed them at the time as uninformative.

"I think that this raises more questions about what was the argument going on between the State Department and CIA," Todd said. "One of the most intriguing e-mails is at the end from David Petraeus, then-CIA director. He goes, ‘Why are we even bothering with these talking points? They've become so watered down.' But it had to do with what State wanted to have done."

Todd claimed the released emails made it clear campaign politics were not involved, although the Wall Street Journal reported officials from across the national-security establishment made suggestions aimed at protecting their own interests and turf, as the talking points were edited to remove a mention of al Qaeda and to delete sentences referring to previous warnings about extremist threats in Benghazi:

As the discussion proceeded, frustrations appeared to emerge.

"Sir — We've tried to work the draft talking points for [the House Intelligence Committee] through the coordination process but have run into major problems," a CIA employee wrote in an e-mail explaining that the talking points wouldn't be completed that day.

While many of the emails already had leaked before Wednesday, the release of the complete set paints a fuller picture of an administration struggling with how much to disclose about an assault that remains a focus of partisan division.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah), one of the leading Republican voices calling for accountability on the terrorist attack, said Wednesday night the email release was more of a political ploy than one aimed at revealing truth, as they only represent a "smidgen" of the 25,000 documents about Benghazi.