By Julian Pecquet - 05/22/13 05:37 PM EDT
Republicans owe Susan Rice an apology for attacking her over the discredited talking points about the Benghazi attack last year, a Democrat on the House intelligence panel said Wednesday after a lengthy briefing with the CIA's second-in-command.
Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell gave panel members a “minute-by-minute recitation” of the development of the information that was shared publicly by Rice in the days after the attack in Libya, according to Rep. Adam SchiffAdam SchiffObama stops short of calling Armenian massacre genocide CIA to pay 0K in benefits to Benghazi victim's family Lawmakers optimistic secret 9/11 pages will soon see release MORE (D-Calif.).
The talking points as originally drafted by the CIA said the Benghazi
attack was believed to have been “spontaneously inspired” by protests in
Cairo blamed on a U.S. made anti-Islam video.
When Rice made her statements, she merely repeated what the intelligence community “said was their best estimate,” according to Schiff.
“I absolutely think she's owed an apology,” he said.
Morell's briefing comes a week after the White House released 100 pages of emails that indicate references to “Islamic extremists with ties to al Qa'ida” were eliminated during the drafting of the talking points under “express instructions” from the FBI “not to generate statements with assessments as to who did this.”
Schiff said the information from Morell “debunked for the upteenth time” Republican allegations that the talking points were spun to protect the president's national security reputation ahead of the November elections.
The Democratic lawmaker did not address the emails where the State Department asked the CIA to remove reports of past warnings about security risks in Benghazi, however.