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Benghazi attack: ‘Terrorists’ or ‘extremists’?

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That was the basis on which United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice described the situation on Sunday TV talk shows five days after the attack – the talking points provided her by intelligence officials – which has gotten her in hot water with some Republican lawmakers, in turn leading to President Obama’s sharp-worded defense of the woman said to be at the top of his list to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

A senior US official familiar with the drafting of the talking points used by Amb. Rice told reporters in Washington that they “reflected what was known at the time” and “were not, as has been insinuated by some, edited to minimize the role of extremists, diminish terrorist affiliations or play down that this was an attack.”

That has not satisfied congressional Republicans still wanting to know who changed the talking points.

“It’s still not clear how the talking points emerged,” Rep. Peter King, (R) of New York, a member of the House intelligence committee, said after the briefing by Petraeus. “No one knows yet exactly who came up with the final version of the talking points.”

Several news sources have obtained the talking points, which include this relevant passage: “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the US diplomatic post in Benghazi and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.”

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