Rep. Issa: White House Reached out to YouTube During Benghazi Attack

Image: Rep. Issa: White House Reached out to YouTube During Benghazi Attack

Friday, 23 May 2014 06:52 AM

By Jason Devaney

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During the attack on the U.S. compound at Benghazi, Libya, in 2012, the White House contacted YouTube regarding a video that it may have believed sparked the assault, according to an email.

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, released one sentence of the e-mail — which was sent hours before the attack ended — and put it in the Congressional Record. The rest of the message remains classified, although Issa has requested it be declassified and made public.

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"White House is reaching out to U-Tube to advice ramification of the posting of the Pastor Jon video," reads the e-mail, according to Issa and reported by ABC News. Issa said the subject line of the email was, "Update on Response to actions – Libya."

A White House official told ABC News that the e-mail proves the Obama administration thought the video, a trailer for the anti-Muslim film "Innocence of Muslims," caused riots that were to blame for the attack that killed the American ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.

"We actually think this proves what we’ve said. We were concerned about the video, given all the protests in the region," the official said.

The intelligence community "was also concerned about the video," the official added. ABC didn't identify the official by name.

Issa, on the other hand, said the e-mail shows the White House was already working on a "false narrative" of what took place in Benghazi, and why.

"The e-mail shows the White House had hurried to settle on a false narrative — one at odds with the conclusions reached by those on the ground — before Americans were even out of harm's way or the intelligence community had made an impartial examination of available evidence," Issa told ABC.

Issa also accused the State Department of hiding behind a veil of secrecy by not declassifying the full email.

"While the information I have cited from this e-mail is clearly unclassified, the State Department has attempted to obstruct its disclosure by not providing Congress with an unclassified copy of this document," Issa said.

In another memo, this one from Sept. 12, the day after the attack began, State Department officials pointed to the video as the reason for the attacks.

"At least 20 armed extremists, members of Ansar al-Sharia, set fire to the Principal’s office, allegedly retaliating for videos posted on the internet of a film deemed insulting to Islam," reads the email.

More than 100 gunmen were said to have participated in the assault, which began at the main U.S. compound in the Libyan city and ended, the following morning, a mile away at a CIA annex.

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