House intelligence chairman: Administration changed Libya talking points

November 18, 2012

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that administration officials altered that intelligence community's talking points in the aftermath of the deaths of four State Department officials in Benghazi, Libya.

Rogers said the talking points used by United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice in the days after the attack were changed once they got to the National Security Council Deputies Committee, which is staffed by top deputies to Cabinet secretaries that deal with national security.

"That's where the narrative changed," Rogers said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "So how that thing got back to Senator Rice (sic) I think is probably another question. We do know that the intelligence community, as they presented it, was accurate."

Republicans have criticized Rice for suggesting that the attacks were part of a spontaneous demonstration that arose from protests over an anti-Islam video. Lawmakers say former CIA director David Petraeus testified behind closed doors this week that the intelligence community knew immediately that it was instead a terrorist attack.

Rogers said he is confident that the intelligence community did nothing wrong with regards to the attacks.

"I, with a high degree of confidence, today will tell you there was not an intelligence failure," Rogers said. "The intelligence community had it right, and they had it right early."

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said she is concerned about the talking points Rice used but that the White House is not to blame.

"The allegation that the White House changed those talking points -- that is false," Feinstein said. "There is only one thing that was changed ... and that was the word 'consulate' was changed to 'mission.'"

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · November 18, 2012