ABC NewsJake TapperCNN’s Jake Tapper is out with a report that offers significant pushback to reports last week from ABC’s Jon Karl and the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes.
Tapper obtained an email from then-Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes, who is a top aide to President Barack Obama. Tapper’s report says that the email “differs from how sources were inaccurately quoted and paraphrased in previous media accounts,” pointing to the ABC and Weekly Standard reports.
Here is the key part of the actual email obtained by Tapper:
“There is a ton of wrong information getting out into the public domain from Congress and people who are not particularly informed. Insofar as we have firmed up assessments that don’t compromise intel or the investigation, we need to have the capability to correct the record, as there are significant policy and messaging ramifications that would flow from a hardened mis-impression.”
According to Tapper, the ABC and Weekly Standard reports “seemingly invent the notion that Rhodes wanted the concerns of the State Department specifically addressed.”
Here’s ABC’s version of the email, which its reporter, Karl, now says was paraphrased from a source who viewed the original emails and shared detailed notes. He had written in his original report that he “reviewed White House emails”:
“We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation. We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting.”
In the second version, there is clearly an insertion of a specific reference to the State Department.
In a follow-up report Tuesday, Karl acknowledged the disparity. Members of Congress saw the emails in March, but were not allowed to have copies, which could account for the discrepancy.
Karl emailed his source on the emails, who claims that the White House purposefully left out part of the email chain that was specifically referring to the State Department.
Here’s what Karl’s source told him:
“WH reply was after a long chain of email about State Dept concerns. So when WH emailer says, take into account all equities, he is talking about the State equities, since that is what the email chain was about.”
In his press briefing Tuesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney blamed Congressional Republicans for leaking and “fabricating” the emails, which have become a key talking point in the renewed fervor over the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, last September.
“I think the entire email — the report I read showed the entire email, and what it showed is that Republicans who were leaking these press — these emails that have been shared with Congress didn’t just do that; they decided to fabricate portions of an email and make up portions of an email in order to fit a political narrative,” Carney said. “And I think — I’m not surprised by it because we’ve seen it again and again.”
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