Boehner calls for White House to release Benghazi emails
May 9th, 2013
11:55 AM ET
5 years ago

Boehner calls for White House to release Benghazi emails

(CNN) – House Speaker John Boehner called on President Obama to release emails that he says show how the White House wanted to change the Benghazi attack "talking points."

Secretary of State John Kerry, meanwhile, vowed Thursday to "leave no stone unturned" in looking into the matter and answering questions about the attack.

At a press conference Thursday, Boehner said he wants the White House to unveil emails to the public that House committees saw privately in their Benghazi investigation.

"The White House continues to claim it only made stylistic changes to talking points used by (U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations) Susan Rice, ignoring the fact that seniors White House officials directed the changes being made to those talking points," Boehner said.

House Republican leaders last month released a report on the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound, which left the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans dead. The report claimed White House and State Department personnel deliberately altered talking points put together by the intelligence community about what transpired in Libya to remove any references to extremist groups linked to al Qaeda.

This was done, the report concludes, to avoid embarrassing the State Department for missing any early warnings.

Days after the attack, Rice used the talking points on several Sunday morning news shows and said the attack originated from a protest outside of the compound. The intelligence community later said the violence was actually a terrorist attack.

Obama administration officials previously acknowledged that they did alter the talking points in an effort to preserve classified information and avoid any impact on the FBI investigation of the attack.

But the House GOP report indicated that House committees reviewed email traffic about those draft talking points and found no evidence that anyone within the administration raised any red flags about securing classified information.

Boehner also called Thursday for the disclosure of an email from a top State Department official from the day after the attack. The email, Boehner said, refers to "Islamic terrorists" as carrying out the attack.

"A senior State Department official emailed her superiors that the Libyan ambassador, she had told the Libyan ambassador, the attack was conducted by Islamic terrorists. The State Department would not allow our committees to keep copies of this email when it was reviewed," Boehner said.

At Wednesday's House hearing on Benghazi, Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina read an excerpt from the email, sent from Beth Jones, the acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department.

"'I spoke to the Libyan ambassador and emphasized the importance of Libyan leaders continuing to make strong statements'," he read aloud, adding that the email was sent the day after Benghazi and several days before Rice's television appearance. "'When he said his government suspected that former Gadhafi regime elements carried out the attacks I told him that the group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al-Sharia, is affiliated with Islamic terrorists.' Let me say that again…she told him, the State Department on September 12th, days before our ambassador went on national television, is telling the ambassador to Libya the group that conducted the attacks Ansar al-Sharia is affiliated with Islamic terrorists."

The State Department has maintained that they've been defining the violence as a terrorist attack since September 12. State Department officials were surprised to hear Rice describing it as a spontaneous attack that came from a demonstration.

Speaking from Rome, Secretary Kerry, who assumed his position after the Benghazi attack, said he is determined to get answers to questions and put the issue "to bed."

"And if there is any culpability in any area that is appropriate to be handled in some way with some discipline it will be appropriately handled," he said at a press conference. "I am confident that any recent, uh, recent evidence will be a component of that consideration. So let's wait until we get back to the United States and I get a chance to catch up to the full measure of what took place."

- CNN's Deirdre Walsh, Jill Dougherty and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: John Boehner • John Kerry • Libya • State Department
soundoff (194 Responses)
  1. Cephus

    I'm sorry Mr. Boehner but my cat ate the hard drive last night.

    May 9, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  2. ja

    we need a congressonal investigation into the Iraq and Afgan war and the wmd lies, but we swept it under the rug, thousands of lives on both sides, don't mention the money spent, so stick your heads back in the sand

    May 9, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Mr. Clapper has took responsibility for the talking point changes. Why are republicans still beating this dead horse?

    May 9, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. Guest

    Just read BO and Hillary their miranda warnings and file the charges. Disgusting behavior by both and an embarrassment to their offices and the Amercian people.

    May 9, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  5. just sayin

    obama will never willingly turn over anything that proves how incompetent and disengaged both he and hillary clinton were before the attack (by cutting security) and during attack by providing no aid or rescue. this entire episode is a national disgrace and obama and hillary clinton are as responsible for the deaths of those 4 americans as the terrorists who pulled the trigger. and now the truth must be concealed to protect that fact.

    May 9, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. America Above Parties

    Give it up you cry babies. You and your pathetic GOPers so called stated goal was "JOBS". but all you can ever do is obstruct, obstruct, obstruct. We will you and your people understand: if POTUS FAILS, WE ALL FAIL.

    May 9, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  7. g

    more poeple died in texas explosion –but no questions are being asked

    May 9, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. PJ

    Has Boehner, or any other Republican ever asked "what can we to do make sure this does not happen again,
    and what further protection can we provide"??
    If so, I haven't seen it.
    If laws were broken, then whoever did should be puniished.
    Some compare this to Watergate. Funny how they by-pass ten years of wars based on actual lies.
    Their credibility gets lost in their questioning.

    May 9, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. Common Sense

    This administration has already been proven obstrutionists.

    Quit denying the American people the truth Mr. Transparent.

    May 9, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. Name willard

    People must keep respect for repblican congress and goverment what happened about 4 murder amercian

    May 9, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. Common Sense


    more poeple died in texas explosion –but no questions are being asked
    And less died from the Boston Marathon Bomber so what's your poiint? Diversion from the facts? I'd say so.

    May 9, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "Boehner calls for White House to release Benghazi emails"

    Boehner admits that, despite 25,000 pages of documents provided, 20+ intelligence briefings, 10 or 11 rounds of testimony, etc., the GOP/Teatrolls still haven't found something that would justify them trying to impeach Obama.


    May 9, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  13. Common Sense

    People died, the administration lied = COVER UP

    May 9, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  14. OUC

    Contrary to what the liberal democratic media is reporting, any one who watched all near 7 hrs of testimony as I did, would easily conclude that 1) Obama and Hillary new this was a terrorist attack from the beginning 2) Obama's re-election was more important than American's lives 3) It is clear a cover up ensued 4) a cover up continues to protect Hillary 5) Mr. Hicks has been retaliated against and demoted.

    Obama and Hillary are flat out liars and no life is more important then their agenda. If you are in the way, they will get you out of the way. There is no mercy here and these two people are not cut from the same mold and responsible respectable Americans.

    May 9, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. SwingState

    Maybe if these fine politicians were as passionate about the facts way back before Sept. 11 2001 then we would not be even in this place.

    May 9, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. sonny chapman

    "Jobs, jobs, jobs"-Boehner, 2010.

    May 9, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. GI Joe

    Stevens was not SENT to Benghazi – he was SENT to Tripoli.

    He CHOSE to go to Benghazi even though he knew it was unsafe.

    May 9, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  18. Al-NY,NY

    the GOP sure wants to beat this to death......The 1983 Marine Barracks bombing in Lebanon didn't result in anything against St Ronald so if the righties think this is going to bring down Obama or hurt Hillary, they're as delusional as their thought that a conservative can win the WH

    May 9, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "Why are republicans still beating this dead horse?"

    Because it plays well with their base and the MSM. I mean, a full day of pretty much useless testimony that never provided the smoking gun the GOP/Teatrolls are obviously looking for and dropped no bombshell revelations and certainly didn't give them the green light for scalping anyone in particular...but what did we witness all day from Little Miss Blitzy? "OMG STAY TUNED OR YOU'LL MISS THE HUGE GAME-CHANGING EARTH-SHATTERING PART!!!!" Lo and behold, the Earth's still sitting here in one piece...gently rocking too and fro atop all the turtles that hold it up.

    May 9, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. MTATL67

    I've noticed that the only time we ever really hear from this failure is when Congressional Republicans have their lets beat up on the President hearings.

    May 9, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  21. Data Driven

    Excellent reminder.

    May 9, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  22. truth hurts but reality bites

    All of this has lead right to the doors of Obama and Hillary Clinton. There has been no accounting for their involvement and whereabouts during the 7-8 hours this event was happening.

    It will be a bombshell when it is revealed that Obama was on AF1 on his way to a fund raiser in Nevada while these people were under attack and being killed. After all, his first priority was getting re-elected. It was the victims fault for getting killed at an inconvenient time.

    And Hillary Clinton? Well, she knew she was in deep doo doo after cutting their security even after all the attacks in Benghazi and then having our ambassador there on 9/11 virtually unprotected.

    Obama and Clinton both have blood on their hands for their incompetence before the attack and then for not providing aid and rescue while the attack was happening. Doing nothing, which is what they did, was NOT AN OPTION. YOU TRY TO SAVE THEM!!!

    May 9, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    Boehner is pretty much just admitting that yesterday's circus proved nothing and the GOP/Teatrolls haven't found any witches, back to the hunt. The request really serves one purpose anyway, which is to give the Teatrolls an excuse to assume that there's more to be uncovered and that Obama's hiding something. Boehner could demand Obama's underwear from 9.11.12 and the Teatrolls assume it must mean that Boehmer was onto something.

    May 9, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  24. I can't believe this

    GI Joe
    Stevens was not SENT to Benghazi – he was SENT to Tripoli.
    He CHOSE to go to Benghazi even though he knew it was unsafe.

    So it was those 4 Americans fault they were killed??? You mean doing his job was the problem?

    BTW, Hillary Clinton and Obama also CHOSE to cut their security and then stop people in country from trying to save them. They CHOSE to do NOTHING. What about THOSE choices?

    May 9, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. B.

    The most pathetic example of Speaker of the House in our history.

    These people have but one agenda, stop everything the President puts forth, everything..

    May 9, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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