During today’s press briefing, Jay Carney made the startling claim that someone “fabricated” the Benghazi emails containing the discussion of the infamous talking points. I’ve been waiting throughout the afternoon for a transcript of the press briefing to start working on some angles to this myself, but the White House hasn’t produced one up to now.
CNN obtained the emails, and Jake Tapper backed the White House’s view. But ABC’s Jonathan Karl, the reporter who broke the 12 edits story last week, pours gallons of cold water all over Tapper.
This is how I reported the contents of that e-mail, quoting verbatim a source who reviewed the original documents and shared detailed notes:
“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 source was not permitted to make copies of the original e-mails. The White House has refused multiple requests – from journalists, including myself, and from Republican leaders in Congress – to release the full e-mail exchanges.
The differences in the two versions are being taken by some as evidence that my source sought to intentionally mislead about the extent of State Department involvement in changing the talking points. The version I obtained makes specific reference to the State Department, while the version reported by CNN references only “all of the relevant equities” and does not single out State.
The White House that’s blaming Republicans and accusing them of “fabricating” emails could clear all of this up by just releasing the original emails. They have chosen not to do that. Instead, they’re adding to the cover-up. Jay Carney should be very, very careful with future actions. Up to now his statements have been excusable as doing his boss’ bidding. Accusing people of fabricating evidence in an ongoing investigation is a very serious charge and could open him up to charges of his own, perhaps obstruction of justice or something along those lines.
As for Jake Tapper, he just got played. That’s fair game for burning a source.