In a bizarre twist in the non-scandal known as Benghazi, it appears that someone doctored an email from Ben Rhodes to make it appear that he was more interested in protecting the State Department than telling the truth of what happened during the Benghazi attacks.
Ben Rhodes is a hard target of the right wing over the whole Benghazi invention. A search on the terms CBS and Ben Rhodes shows page after page of efforts to smear Rhodes by making hay out of the fact that his brother is a top CBS executive.
Rhodes is a target because of leaked emails reported by ABC and the Weekly Standard which seemed to indicate Rhodes was more interested in protecting the State Department than he was in telling the truth about what happened. This is why the right is so focused on the talking points now. They're sure they were filled with lies.
It turns out the only real lie was one told by whoever leaked those emails. Jake Tapper has the story:
In the email sent on Friday, September 14, 2012, at 9:34 p.m., obtained by CNN from a U.S. government source, Rhodes wrote:
“Sorry to be late to this discussion. We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.
“There is a ton of wrong information getting out into the public domain from Congress and people who are not particularly informed. Insofar as we have firmed up assessments that don’t compromise intel or the investigation, we need to have the capability to correct the record, as there are significant policy and messaging ramifications that would flow from a hardened mis-impression.
“We can take this up tomorrow morning at deputies.”
What was reported:
ABC News reported that Rhodes wrote: “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 Weekly Standard reported that Rhodes "responded to the group, explaining that Nuland had raised valid concerns and advising that the issues would be resolved at a meeting of the National Security Council’s Deputies Committee the following morning."
Whoever provided those quotes and paraphrases did so inaccurately, seemingly inventing the notion that Rhodes wanted the concerns of the State Department specifically addressed. Nuland, particularly, had expressed a desire to remove mentions of specific terrorist groups and CIA warnings about the increasingly dangerous assignment. Rhodes put no emphasis at all in his email on the State Department's concerns.
If we assume that ABC and the Weekly Standard were given paraphrases of the emails rather than the actual text, it would appear as though the leaker took great pains to alter the meaning and words Rhodes actually wrote in order to invent scandal where none existed.
Gosh, who would do a thing like that?