Report: GOP mischaracterized Benghazi emails

CBS News reports that the initially leaked emails have different quotes from the White House emails

By Jillian Rayfield

Published May 17, 2013 1:13PM (EDT)

CBS News is reporting that leaked versions of the Benghazi emails sent out by Republicans had key differences from those released by the White House earlier this week.

The version of the emails initially sent out last Friday purported to show that the State Department and the White House gave input into the talking points issued by the CIA following the attacks on the U.S. consulate. But on Wednesday the White House released 100 pages of emails that contradict this conclusion.

CBS News reports:

On Friday, Republicans leaked what they said was a quote from Rhodes: "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."

But it turns out that in the actual email, Rhodes did not mention the State Department.

It read: "We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation."

Another quote provided by Republicans showed State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland saying: "The penultimate point is a paragraph talking about all the previous warnings provided by the Agency (CIA) about al-Qaeda's presence and activities of al-Qaeda." According to CBS News, the actual email says: "The penultimate point could be abused by members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings."

Earlier this week, Jake Tapper from CNN also reported on a contradiction between the Republican emails and the White House emails:

The actual e-mail from then-Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes appears to show that whomever leaked it did so in a way that made it appear that the White House was primarily concerned with the State Department's desire to remove references and warnings about specific terrorist groups so as to not bring criticism to the department.

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Barack Obama Benghazi Attack Hillary Clinton Republicans State Department