A revelation from CNN's Jake Tapper raises significant questions about the motivations of the source for ABC's story last Friday revealing draft talking points in response to the attack in Benghazi. Tapper got a complete copy of an email cited by ABC which shows that the latter's excerpt misrepresents the concerns of Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes.
In its original report, ABC runs through the changes in each version of the talking points, noting where State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland had interjected to change the language. The impression given was that the State Department wanted to change politically damaging revelations — though an update to the ABC story includes a response from State indicating that the corrections were mostly for security purposes.
ABC also noted an email from Rhodes:
In an email dated 9/14/12 at 9:34 p.m. — three days after the attack and two days before Ambassador Rice appeared on the Sunday shows – Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes wrote an email saying the State Department’s concerns needed to be addressed.
“We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation. We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting.”
The email acquired by Tapper has the same timestamp but a much different message.