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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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April 2nd, 2014
05:07 PM ET

Former CIA official denies Benghazi cover-up

(CNN) – After the White House's muddled response to the attacks on U.S. diplomatic posts in Benghazi, Libya, former CIA deputy director Michael Morell took the blame, and then he took the exit.

But Morell denied Tuesday any kind of cover-up or political influence behind the edits he made to those now-infamous talking points used by the White House.

Yet he says he was not the one who removed the reference to al Qaeda. Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee remain suspicious that the White House was pulling Morell's strings at the time.

"You made significant, substantive changes for the White House. Whether it was on behalf, we don't know. But we know you are the one who made those changes," Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota said.

"Ma'am, if you look at the record, what you will see is the changes I made were fully consistent with what our analysts believed at the time," Morell said.

Four Americans were killed in the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

For days afterward, the administration blamed a "spontaneous protest" over an anti-Muslim video, which turned out to be false.

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