This site, CorrectRecord.org, is a slick operation run by American Bridge 21st Century, a group founded by David Brock that conducts opposition research for Democratic candidates. The site is aimed at promoting Hillary Clinton’s possible presidential run and particularly geared to defend her against the many growing controversies stemming from her tenure as secretary of state, especially how she handled the 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi.
One of these controversies is whether Secretary Clinton and her staff engaged in a cover-up of the Obama administration’s statements and policies related to the Benghazi terrorist attacks. New life was breathed into this issue this week due to a report by journalist Sharyl Attkisson that Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to a State Department Accountability Review Board formed to investigate the Benghazi attacks.
After a quick review of the Benghazi area of the Correct the Record site, I quickly found a false statement. In a box that begins with “COVER UP FALSE,” there is this language:
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence bipartisan report concluded there “were no efforts by the White House or any other Executive Branch entities” to cover-up facts or make alterations to talking points for political purposes. Former CIA Director David Petraeus confirmed the Benghazi talking points process was normal.
But the citation in this box is not from the bipartisan body of the January 2014 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the Benghazi attacks – it’s partisan language taken from pages 4 and 5 of an appendix containing the additional views of the committee’s Democratic members.
It’s fine for Correct the Record to cite this language, but it only reflects views of the Democratic members of the committee. Republican members held very different views.
In fact, six of the committee’s seven Republican members were harshly critical of the Obama administration’s truthfulness about the Benghazi attacks and said the following in their own additional views to the report:
Rather than provide Congress with the best intelligence and on-the-ground assessments, the Administration chose to try to frame the story in a way that minimized any connection to terrorism. Before the Benghazi attacks—in the lead-up to the 2012 presidential election, the administration continued to script the narrative that al-Qaeda had been decimated and on the run. The Benghazi terrorist attacks inconveniently, and overwhelmingly, interfered with this fictitious and false narrative.
The additional views by the six Republicans also rejected the charge that the CIA was at fault for erroneous language in the Benghazi talking points, noting that e-mails reluctantly released to the committee clearly show the White House was asked to coordinate on the talking points from the earliest moments and had the final say in approving them. The six Republican members noted that this does not comport with what Acting CIA Director Morell told the intelligence committees in November 2012.
. . . in spite of his [CIA Director Petraeus] own misgivings, the final content of the talking points was the ‘[National Security Staff’s] call, to be sure.’ In contrast, the Acting Director’s testimony perpetuated the myth that the White House played no part in the drafting or editing of the talking points.
So a pro-Clinton group is trying to discredit allegations that Hillary Clinton was involved in a cover-up of how the Obama administration handled the terrorist attacks on the Benghazi consulate by falsely claiming a bipartisan Senate report exonerates her.
— Fred Fleitz is a former CIA analyst and senior staff member with the House Intelligence Committee. He is currently a senior fellow with the Center for Security Policy and chief analyst with LIGNET.com.
This article first posted at National Review Online.