Reporting Jon Keller
BOSTON (CBS) – The Obama administrative is on the defensive over the way it handled the deadly attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
The September attack killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others, including Winchester native Glen Doherty.
The political struggle over Benghazi has become a conflict over semantics.
The latest battleground: an email from a senior State Department official the day after the attack identifying it as a premeditated act by “Islamic terrorists,” well before UN Ambassador Susan Rice publicly described it as the spontaneous work of “extremists.”
The Republicans see a potential smoking gun.
“I would call on the President to order the State Department to release this email so that the American people can see it,” Rep. John Boehner said.
But the administration says there’s nothing to it.
So, was it terrorists or extremists?
“I think those two words are pretty interchangeable,” said Professor Joseph Wippl who worked for the CIA for 30 years. “What we have the right to demand is a review of what happened, and if there were some mistakes made, an admission that there was a mistake made, but at the end of the day, I don’t think it could have been avoided.”
But amid the finger pointing, some in Congress are calling for an end to the partisan posturing.
“We need the truth,” Rep. Joe Kennedy III told Jon Keller. “I certainly hope that given the tragedy that transpired, the tragic loss of life, of four Americans, that we do not fall into partisan politics.”
The White House held an off-the-record briefing on Benghazi for a select group of reporters Friday, amid new accounts of editing of State Department statements to downplay the terrorist nature of the attack.