Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has dismissed recently disclosed White House emails linked to the false Benghazi talking points as Republican “subterfuge” and “diversion,” and refused to answer questions during her weekly press briefing Thursday.
“Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi — why aren’t we talking about something else?” the California representative said after a reporter asked about the emails released late last month, which directly link a White House aide to the false talking points used by then-U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice to explain the attack that ended in the death of Libyan Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
The talking points in question, which Rice delivered on a round of Sunday talk shows following the incident on September 11, 2012 alleged the attack on the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi was the result of spontaneous demonstrators reacting to an offensive YouTube video criticizing Islam, and not a coordinated terrorist attack. Those statements have since been widely regarded as false and intentionally misleading to avoid public backlash against the Obama administration for an appearance of foreign policy ineptitude.
Both Rice and the administration have since retracted or qualified the remarks to line up with intelligence reports suggesting a planned terrorist attack, but the White House has maintained it had nothing to do with the original talking points. Rice asserted her information came directly from intelligence agencies, despite contradictory testimony by intel community members themselves that their information was warped.
The recent emails reveal those claim to also be false, and show the White House gave Rice specific instructions “to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure or policy.”
“I haven’t seen that, but what I will say is — again — diversion, subterfuge,” Pelosi said during he response to a reporter’s question about the emails. “Whatever was in that — what I know of what I’ve read in the press about those emails were very consistent with what was put out there before. I don’t think there’s anything new there.”
Pelosi ignored a follow up question and moved on to answer other reporters until a second brought up the emails again.
“Excuse me, I’m going to tell you something,” Pelosi snapped while trying to cut off the question. After the reporter finished, Pelosi responded by repeating she didn’t see anything new in media reports covering the emails, and ended the press conference with another attack on Republicans and the media.
“If you all want to sit around and talk about Benghazi, you can sit around and talk about Benghazi,” Pelosi said. “But the fact is, that’s a subterfuge that they don’t want to talk about jobs, growth, immigration reform, voting rights — you name it.”