The Obama administration was thrown into panic mode yesterday afternoon after ABC News reported on leaked internal government emails that show that the adminstration had lied to the public in the aftermath of the attack on the Benghazi consulate in Libya on September 11, 2012 that resulted in the deaths of four Americans including Libya ambassador Christopher Stevens.
The attack was initially blamed on violent protests supposedly inspired by a pathetic Youtube video mocking muslims, with President Obama, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice and other senior administration officials persisting with the false story for weeks. It subsequently emerged that there had been no protests and that it had been an organised terrorist attack carried out by an al Qaeda linked group.
The leaked emails contradict White House claims that they were not responsible for editing the "talking points" that blamed the attacks on the video. They had insisted that this story came from the intelligence community, however the leaked emails show that the initial draft of the talking points submitted by the CIA underwent twelve revisons by administration officials before the final version was settled on that blamed the video for provoking violent protests that lead to the deaths of the four Americans.
In response to the revelations, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney delayed his press briefing by over an hour and held what was initially described as an "off the record" meeting with 14 news media organisations. White House spokesman Josh Earnest subsequently denied this unusual meeting with select members of the press was "off the record" but instead described it as a "deep background" briefing.
In his analysis of the controversy, BBC North American editor Mark Mardell has written that "this is now very serious, and I suspect heads will roll. The White House will be on the defensive for a while."