Bombshell from Washington Free Beacon:
Previously unreleased internal Obama administration emails show that a coordinated effort was made in the days following the Benghazi terror attacks to portray the incident as “rooted in [an] Internet video, and not [in] a broader failure or policy.”
Emails sent by senior White House adviser Ben Rhodes to other top administration officials reveal an effort to insulate President Barack Obama from the attacks that killed four Americans.
Rhodes sent this email to top White House officials such as David Plouffe and Jay Carney just a day before National Security Adviser Susan Rice made her infamous Sunday news show appearances to discuss the attack.
The “goal,” according to these emails, was “to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure or policy.”
Rice came under fierce criticism following her appearances on television after she adhered to these talking points and blamed the attack on a little-watched Internet video.
The newly released internal White House e-mails show that Rice’s orders came from top Obama administration communications officials.
This is a huge deal. This is basically stealing the election. Obama couldn’t have won the election if he was held accountable for what happened in Benghazi. If he didn’t have Candy Crowley saving him in the debate, and if didn’t have a YouTube video as a scapegoat, it’s very easy to imagine 2012 going a different way.
“[W]e’ve made our views on this video crystal clear. The United States government had nothing to do with it,” Rhodes wrote in the email, which was released on Tuesday by the advocacy group Judicial Watch.
“We reject its message and its contents,” he wrote. “We find it disgusting and reprehensible. But there is absolutely no justification at all for responding to this movie with violence. And we are working to make sure that people around the globe hear that message.”
Rhodes also suggested that Rice tout Obama’s reputation as “steady and statesmanlike.”
“I think that people have come to trust that President Obama provides leadership that is steady and statesmanlike,” he wrote. “There are always going to be challenges that emerge around the world, and time and again, he has shown that we can meet them.”
Also contained in the 41 pages of documents obtained by Judicial Watch is a Sep. 12, 2012 email from Payton Knopf, the former deputy spokesman at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.
In this communication, Knopf informs Rice that senior officials had already dubbed the Benghazi attack as “complex” and planned in advance. Despite this information, Rice still insisted that attacks were “spontaneous.”
The newly released cache of emails also appear to confirm that the CIA altered its original talking points on the attacks in the following days.
Then-CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell is identified as the person who heavily edited the critical fact sheet.