Jay Carney: Benghazi talking points “not about Benghazi”

Jay Carney

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says the reason the Obama administration didn’t turnover a September 2012 email with talking points for then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is because the “document was not about Benghazi.”

“Why were you holding back this information? Why was this email not turned over to the Congress? Why was it not released when you released all the other emails?” ABC News correspondent Jon Karl asked Carney. “This is directly relevant. Why did you hold this back?”

“Jon, I can say it again and again, and I know you can keep asking again and again,” Carney replied. “This document was not about Benghazi.”

“It was her prep for the, for the Sunday shows,” Karl noted, to which Carney replied, “It wasn’t her only prep, Jon. She relied on her — for her answers on Benghazi, on the document prepared by the CIA, as did members of Congress.”

Carney went on to say that it’s standard procedure for the White House and administration officials to develop talking points for anticipated questions based on available information. He insisted that the administration as well as both parties in Congress were “working off the same information.”

“[I]f you look at the document in question here, it is not about Benghazi,” Carney said, “it is about the protests around the Muslim world outside of U.S. embassies, and what we know about them and what we should say about them based on our policies.”

Think about that for a moment. White House and administration officials were creating talking points, which Carney says “was not about Benghazi,” for talk show appearances by a high-ranking administration official just days after four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in Benghazi. Seems legit, right?

There were talking points in the document about broader policy in the Middle East, but, again, Benghazi was the driving theme of the day, according to the promos of the four talk shows on which she appeared.

White House Director of Broadcast Media Dag Vega sent out the original email entitled “PREP CALL with Susan: Saturday at 4:00 pm ET.” In the email, he gave a rundown of the show promos (page 17-18). The only show that didn’t reference or allude to Benghazi was CBS News’ Face the Nation:

White House Press Secretary Brad Hughes replied less an hour later with the specific talking points for Rice, in which he directed her “[t]o underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”

The fact of the matter is that the talking points in the email from Hughes had everything to do with Benghazi, and yet was presented to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee just two weeks ago, nearly a year after the initial email dump from the White House.

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