White House staffer Ben Rhodes denied to reporters yesterday that Susan Rice's talking points had been edited to delete reference to a terror attack in Benghazi:
Q A Benghazi question. General Petraeus yesterday apparently testified that he knew from the outset that there were terrorist elements involved in the attack on the consulate, included it in a draft report, and then it was -- the specifics of who those participants may have been were removed. Do you know where -- when they were removed, by whom, and why?
MR. RHODES: On the question of the initial intelligence assessments and the way in which they evolved in the first days and weeks after the attack, again, we in the White House are guided by the information that we receive from the intelligence community, from the CIA and other intelligence agencies. It’s only natural that in the first days after an attack, they’re going to sort through different pieces of intelligence, they’re going to gain a better understanding of what happened, and they’re going to continually update their assessment.
Now, in terms of -- I think the focus of this has often been on the public statements that were made by Susan Rice and other administration officials in that first week after the attack. Those were informed by unclassified talking points that we -- that were provided to the Congress and to the interagency -- the rest of the administration by the intelligence community. So that’s what informed our public statements.
Now, if there were adjustments made to them within the intelligence community, that’s common, and that’s something they would have done themselves within the intelligence community.
What we also said yesterday, though -- because this question came up as to whether the White House had edited Susan Rice’s points and the points that were provided to Congress and the administration -- the only edit that was made to those points by the White House, and was also made by the State Department, was to change the word “consulate” to “diplomatic facility” since the facility in Benghazi had not -- was not formally a consulate. Other than that, we worked off of the points that were provided by the intelligence community. So I can’t speak to any other edits that may have been made within the intelligence community.