While the talking points recited by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on September 16th continues to be a point of interest, confusion, and conflicting accounts, looking at the words uttered by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton three days earlier might shed some light on how those talking points got altered. The conflicting stories between former CIA Director David Petraeus and DNI Director James Clapper seem to fall within that 9/13 – 9/16 window.
Again, let’s look at the November 20th report from CBS, which reported that the entity responsible for taking the reference to al-Qaeda out of the talking points was the Department of National Intelligence (DNI):
An intelligence source says the talking points were passed from the CIA to the DNI, where the substantive edits were made, and then to FBI, which made more edits as part of “standard procedure.”
The head of the DNI is James Clapper, an Obama appointee. He ultimately did review the points, before they were given to Ambassador Rice and members of the House intelligence committee on Sept. 14. They were compiled the day before.
According to that report, Clapper’s office made the changes between September 13th and when they were given to Rice on September 14th. As an aside, on November 15th, CBS reported that Rice was given the talking points on September 15th, not the 14th.
After Petraeus gave closed-door testimony to the House Intelligence committee on November 16th, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) told reporters that Petraeus said he didn’t know who altered the talking points and that the former CIA Director testified that he knew the attack was an act of terror all along. One day prior to Petraeus’ November 16th testimony, his immediate boss (Clapper) gave testimony that would ultimately be completely contradicted, which caused even more problems for both Petraeus and Clapper.
Via Catherine Herridge of Fox News:
Fox News was told by one source that Clapper, in a classified session on Thursday, was “unequivocal, and without hesitation insisted the changes were made outside the Intelligence community. He didn’t know who but was emphatic he would find out.”
A day later, former CIA Director David Petraeus also stated changes were made after his agency drafted the talking points, adding no one imagined how changing the language would end up being such a big deal.
But late Monday night, Clapper spokesman Shawn Turner said in a series of briefings for reporters that the intelligence community was solely responsible for “substantive” changes to the talking points, which were finalized on Sept. 15 – four days after the attack and one day before U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s controversial appearance on five Sunday talk shows, when she described the attack as spontaneous violence that grew out of protests of an anti-Islam film.
Uh, but Petraeus said on November 16th that he didn’t know who altered the talking points. If that’s true, Clapper’s office has got to be lying now. Either Clapper’s November 15th testimony jibes with Petraeus’ November 16th testimony or Petraeus’ November 16th testimony doesn’t jibe with what Clapper’s office is saying now. If we’re to believe Clapper’s spokesman’s November 19th comments, Petraeus may have committed perjury at a time when he should have come clean.
Now, let’s go back to September 13th. This is the date given by CBS in a report published one day after Clapper’s spokesman said his boss’ office is where the talking points were altered. This means that Clapper’s office was altering the talking points on the same day that Hillary Clinton was giving this speech.
Relevant portions transcribed below video.
At the :37 mark:
I also want to take a moment to address the video circulating on the internet that has led to these protests in a number of countries. Let me state very clearly, and I hope it is obvious, that the United States government had nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message. America’s commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation and as you know, we are home to people of ALL religions, many of whom came to this country seeking the right to exercise their own religion, including, of course, millions of Muslims and we have the greatest respect for people of faith. To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose; to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage.
Then, at the 3:09 mark, after ripping the video, Hillary seems to imply it was responsible for violence:
It is especially wrong for violence to be directed against diplomatic missions. These are places whose very purpose is peaceful, to promote better understanding across countries and cultures. All governments have a responsibility to protect those spaces and people.
At the 3:42 mark, Hillary seems to be laying the groundwork for the talking points that Susan Rice issued on 9/16. Remember, CBS reported that Clapper’s office was compiling the final talking points at approximately the same time that Hillary was giving this speech. After what she said up to this point, it is easy to see how she is making the implication that the video is responsible for the Benghazi attack:
Now I know it is hard for some people to understand why the United States cannot or does not just prevent these kinds of reprehensible videos from ever seeing the light of day. Now I would note that in today’s world with today’s technologies that is impossible but even if it were possible, our country does have a long tradition of free expression which is enshrined in our constitution and our law and we do not stop individual citizens from expressing their views, no matter how distasteful they may be.
Of course, keep in mind that Charles Woods, the father of one of the four murdered Americans, told Lars Larson that Hillary told him on 9/14 (one day after the aforementioned speech and on the same day that Rice was given her talking points), that the anti-Muhammad video’s filmmaker would be arrested and prosecuted.
It’s also important to remember that shortly after Petraeus’ testimony on November 16th, Rep. King told reporters the following about how the final talking points emerged. According to Petraeus, through King:
it went through a long process involving many agencies, to include the Department of Justice, to include the State Department.
In conclusion, if both the November 20th CBS report and King’s claim that the State Department was involved in altering the talking points that were given to Susan Rice on 9/14, it means that the State Department was likely altering those talking points on the same day that Hillary Clinton gave a speech which unequivocally laid the foundation for talking points which ultimately said the video was responsible for the attack in Benghazi.
I refer you to Rule #8 from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals:
Rule 8: Keep the pressure on. Use different tactics and actions and use all events of the period for your purpose. “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this that will cause the opposition to react to your advantage.”
The events were the attack and the video. Blaming the video instead of al-Qaeda would serve two purposes. One, it would protect the administration’s narrative that al-Qaeda was on the run. Two, it would chill freedom of speech and first amendment rights through tacit intimidation that said, if you criticize Islam, there could be consequences.
Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are very learned students of Saul Alinsky.
Ben Barrack is a talk show host and author of the book, Unsung Davids