BY: CATHERINE hERRIDGE
New allegations are raising additional questions about former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell’s involvement in crafting the administration’s flawed narrative on the Benghazi attack, ahead of his scheduled testimony next week on Capitol Hill.
Morell is set to testify publicly for the first time on Wednesday about his role in crafting the controversial Benghazi “talking points,” which initially blamed a protest for the deadly attack.
The former acting director, and deputy director, was called to testify to explain potentially conflicting testimony he gave Congress about the talking points and the administration’s role. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers told reporters this week — before news of his retirement was made public — that the rare, open session should “allow Mr. Morell to answer the questions that we know many people have about what he knew and when he knew it.”
But another detail is raising questions. According to a source with first-hand knowledge of events, during a secure video conference call two days after the Sept. 11, 2012 attack, Morell told the team in Libya that there was intelligence a demonstration preceded the assault. With that statement, Morell apparently dismissed the reporting of U.S. personnel on the ground, including the CIA’s top officer, known as the chief of station.
“We’ve done a forensic on that event. We never found a reference to demonstrations from individuals who were on the ground,” Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., told Fox News in a recent interview. Burr sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee which conducted its own investigation on Benghazi. The bipartisan findings released in January were highly critical of the State Department and the administration’s resistance to fully explain its role in the flawed talking points.
“Whether it’s the chief of station in Tripoli, whether it’s the diplomatic security, or the GRS (Global Response Team) response team that went, from day one all referrals were an attack that was underway,” the senator said.
Fox News is also told that even before the video teleconference, or VTC, the chief of station understood based on communications with CIA headquarters in Washington that the burden was on him to prove there was no demonstration.