Richard Cohen [“Benghazi’s conspiracy contagion,” op-ed, May 14] made a valid point: that some Republicans appear to have exaggerated the Benghazi debacle. But he overlooked a crucial aspect of the controversy. The drafts of the talking points released by the White House indicate that the spurious claim of a spontaneous demonstration originated in the “intelligence community.” If that was what the CIA believed, it represents a quite stunning failure of intelligence. It is, however, a failure about which the White House has appeared to be utterly indifferent.

The origin of the spurious claim was not addressed in the report by Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Adm. Mike Mullen. It is a subject fully deserving of continuing scrutiny and investigation by Congress, preferably without exaggeration or rhetorical excess.

Douglas M. Parker, Ojai, Calif.