The huge question from David Patraeus’s testamony yesterday is who changed the narrative of the CIA assessment to strike referrences to terrorism.
One thing for sure, President Obama knew the specific details of the attack before sending Rice out on the Sunday talk show circuit.
“Based on electronic intercepts and human intelligence on the ground, the early briefings after the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya identified possible organizers and participants. Most were believed to be from a local Libyan militia group called Ansar al-Sharia that is sympathetic to al-Qaida, the official said, while a handful of others was linked to a direct al-Qaida affiliate in North Africa known as AQIM.
Those briefings also raised the possibility that the attackers may have been inspired both by spontaneous protests across the globe on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and by a desire to seek vengeance for the U.S. killing last summer of a Libyan-born leader of al-Qaida named Abu Yaya al-Libi, the officials said, speaking only on condition of anonymity because they were discussing intelligence matters.
The details from the CIA and Pentagon assessments of the killing of Ambassador Chris Stephens were far more specific, more detailed and more current than the unclassified talking points that UN Ambassador Susan Rice and other officials used five days after the attack to suggest to Americans that an unruly mob angry over an anti-Islamic video was to blame, officials said.
Most of the details affirming al-Qaida links were edited or excluded from the unclassified talking points used by Rice in appearances on news programs the weekend after the attack, officials confirmed Friday. Multiple agencies were involved in excising information, doing so because it revealed sources and methods, dealt with classified intercepts or involved information that was not yet fully confirmed, the officials said.
“There were multiple agencies involved, not for political reasons, but because of intelligence concerns,” one official explained.”
Got to love the “not for political reasons”. Intelligence is always political and the CIA, State Department, NSA, are full of political hacks just as any other government agency. True the information from any intelligence/after action assessment goes through a “scrub” to make the information as timely and accurate as possible. However since from the beginning it was clear to those on the ground and watching the event unfold that the attack was a coordinated effort by terrorists – specifically Al Qaeda, it doesn’t wash that scrubbing that information was a normative part of the process.
Ultimately though the President gets the full unfiltered version as it should be, so the question is who of his inner circle decided to scrub that info from the draft Rice used?
Only a few people – outside the President himself – and all are members of his inner circle. Frankly I have trouble believing that the President didn’t have a clue or gave a nod to the effort.
The Commander in Chief at Work!
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