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May 10th, 2013
07:10 PM ET

Benghazi: 'Terror' deleted from talking points

After some emotional and eye-opening testimony from career diplomats on Capitol Hill this week about the terrorist attacks at the American diplomatic posts in Benghazi, Libya, there is now news that the White House and Obama administration edited the talking points about the attack, talking points intended for members of Congress.

In one of the 12 drafts, it stated that "since April 2012 the agency [meaning the CIA] has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al Qaeda in Benghazi and eastern Libya. These noted that since April, there have been at lest five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants including the June attack against the British ambassador's convoy."

As seen in e-mail excerpts obtained by CNN, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland wrote to administration colleagues that that "point could be abused to beat the State Department for not paying attention to agency warnings, so why do we want to feed that? " The paragraph was removed.

In the briefing room Friday, White House spokesman Jay Carney faced a barrage of questions about the e-mails, which were first reported by The Weekly Standard, and then ABC News. Carney said the talking points were not heavily edited, and that the CIA changed notes due to conflicting information.

"The overriding concern of everyone involved in that circumstance is always to make sure that we're not giving to those who speak in public about these issues information that cannot be confirmed, speculation about who was responsible, other things like warnings that may or may not be relevant to what we ultimately learn about what happened, and why," said Carney.

This comes after Gregory Hicks, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. embassy in Libya during the Benghazi attack, told investigators that he thought the Benghazi siege was a terrorist attack from the "get-go." Hicks was one of three diplomats who testified in front of a House committee on Wednesday.

The administration says all these accusations are just political hit pieces. But grieving family members, like Pat Smith, mother of Sean Smith who was killed at Benghazi, have no horse in the race. And they have now gone eight agonizing months without answers, despite being promised them from President Barack Obama, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, and then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

"I beg for answers, when I was there for the casket ceremony, Obama and Hillary, and Biden, and Panetta, said they would check into it and let me know, not one of them has called me none, they don't care. I'm not important to them," Smith told CNN Thursday.

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