Notably, the emails only begin on September 14, 2012. By that point, the administration had already taken to blaming the attack on a YouTube video. The video is not mentioned in the entire talking points discussion chain. At all. In fact, on September 15, a draft of points sent to Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) states that “We are very cautious about drawing any firm conclusions at this point with regard to the identification and motivation of the attackers.” Two brief lines on page 76 are probably the origins of the White House that it only made minor changes, but the fact is, the talking points were hashed out at a deputies meeting at the White House the following Saturday morning.
Hold the phone: The movie does come up, starting Sept 15 in the subject line of an email marked from USUN. By that point, Clinton had already stood in front of the coffins of the slain and blamed the movie. USUN appears to be a redaction.
Update: Having read through them, it’s clear that the State Department wanted the talking points watered down. Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland carefully notes that her “building’s leadership” had problems with the talking points without naming anyone. In one email she claims that the talking points should be weakened so that the investigation is not “prejudiced,” but the FBI had no serious problems with the original version, which named al Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia.