Via Jonathan Karl, of ABC:
…Summaries of White House and State Department emails — some of which were first published by Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard — show that the State Department had extensive input into the editing of the talking points.
State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland raised specific objections to this paragraph drafted by the CIA in its earlier versions of the talking points:
“The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al-Qa’ida in Benghazi and eastern Libya. These noted that, since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador’s convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks.”
In an email to officials at the White House and the intelligence agencies, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland took issue with including that information because it “could be abused by members [of Congress] to beat up the State Department for not paying attention to warnings, so why would we want to feed that either? Concerned …”
The paragraph was entirely deleted…
Formerly Skeptical BBC Editor Changes Tune (The Blaze):
BBC Editor Mark Mardell on Friday admitted that he had all but dismissed allegations of a Benghazi cover-up before ABC’s bombshell report on the Benghazi talking points, which were deliberately edited to remove references to terror.
“This is now very serious, and I suspect heads will roll,” Mardell writes. “The White House will be on the defensive for a while.”
The BBC editor said ABC’s report on the talking points provide the “first hard evidence that the State Department did ask for changes to the CIA’s original assessment.” He predicted that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will inevitably have to explain why her department made the significant edits.
“In the interests of full disclosure I have to say I have not in the past been persuaded that allegations of a cover-up were a big deal. It seemed to me a partisan attack based on very little,” Mardell admitted, later adding that the “evidence is there in black and white.”
He goes on: “Mr Obama’s critics are often not very clear what is behind their allegations. I presume they think that the White House wanted to avoid claims the murders were the result of terrorism because this would undermine his claim that al-Qaeda was seriously ‘degraded.’ There’s also a vague sense he’s ‘soft on terror.’”…