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GOP demands more despite Benghazi email release

By Donna Cassatta

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House release of some 100 pages of emails and notes about the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year has failed to satisfy congressional Republicans, who are demanding more information…A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Wednesday Republicans hoped “this limited release of documents is a sign of more cooperation to come,” while the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee pressed the Pentagon for more details about military orders around the time of the attack and what military aircraft were in the region.

…Republicans have accused the Obama administration of misleading the American people about the circumstances of the attack, playing down a terrorist strike that would reflect poorly on President Barack Obama in the heat of a presidential race. Obama has dismissed charges of a cover-up and suggested on Monday that the criticism was politically motivated.

… The emails disclosed on Wednesday underscored the turf battle between the State Department and CIA, as neither one wanted to take the blame for the attack. They also showed the reluctance within the administration about saying anything definitively as officials scrambled to write talking points for lawmakers and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who discussed the attack on Sunday talk shows. Rice’s widely debunked remarks that cited protests over an anti-Islam video as the cause of the attack fueled the criticism of the administration and later cost her a chance at becoming secretary of state.

According to the 99 pages of emails, then CIA-Director David Petraeus objected to the final talking points because he wanted to see more details revealed to the public. Petraeus’ deputy, Mike Morell, after a meeting at the White House on Saturday, Sept. 15, scratched out from the CIA’s early talking point drafts mentions of al-Qaida, the experience of fighters in Libya, Islamic extremists and a warning to the Cairo embassy on the eve of the attacks of calls for a demonstration and break-in by jihadists.

Petraeus apparently was displeased by the removal of so much of the material his analysts had proposed for release. The talking points were sent to Rice to prepare her for an appearance on news shows on Sunday, Sept. 16, and also to members of the House Intelligence Committee.
“No mention of the cable to Cairo, either?” Petraeus wrote after receiving Morell’s edited version, developed after an intense back-and-forth among Obama administration officials. “Frankly, I’d just as soon not use this, then.”

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