McCain: ‘Surprised’ By Report That DNI Removed Terrorism References In Rice’s Benghazi Talking Points

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) released a statement on Tuesday in which he responded to reports that the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) scrubbed references to Al-Qaeda from the unclassified talking points used by United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice and others following the September attack in Benghazi.

McCain said the revelation runs counter to what he was told by intelligence officials during Senate hearings and serves as another reminder of why he and other Republicans are “suspicious” of the Obama administration’s response to the attack.

The statement:

“I am somewhat surprised and frustrated to read reports that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was responsible for removing references to Al-Qaeda from the unclassified talking points about the Benghazi attack that Ambassador Susan Rice and other officials used in the early days after September 11, 2012. I participated in hours of hearings in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last week regarding the events in Benghazi, where senior intelligence officials were asked this very question, and all of them – including the Director of National Intelligence himself – told us that they did not know who made the changes. Now we have to read the answers to our questions in the media. There are many other questions that remain unanswered. But this latest episode is another reason why many of us are so frustrated with, and suspicious of, the actions of this Administration when it comes to the Benghazi attack.”



Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at