Reid’s comments came a day after the administration released more than 100 pages of inter-agency emails on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya. The emails were an attempt to bolster the administration’s argument that it did not try to hide the fact that last year’s attack was terrorism.

One message showed that CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell asked that references to al Qaeda and another terrorist groups be removed from official administration talking points.

Republicans had been critical of the White House for initially saying the attack was part of a protest, rather than a deliberate terrorist attack, which resulted in the death of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

“We know the press corps spent most of the last week chasing a story based on an email that didn’t exist,” Reid said. “The story was fabricated by a Republican aide and then reported as fact. It’s a sad commentary that the Republicans are so dead set in embarrassing the president that they would actually lie to a news organization about the contents of an email.

“The attack on Benghazi is a matter of life and death … not smear politics.”

Republicans have also been investigating the State Department's response to the attack, questioning whether more could have been done to protect the diplomatic post.