White House releases Benghazi attack emails

WASHINGTON Wed May 15, 2013 6:56pm EDT

The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames on September 11, 2012. REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori

The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames on September 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Esam Al-Fetori

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Wednesday released 100 pages of emails detailing discussion inside the administration over last year's deadly attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

President Barack Obama has faced Republican criticism that his administration covered up details of the assault, especially after a news report last week said memos on the incident were edited to omit a CIA warning of an al Qaeda threat.

Senior administration officials told reporters at the White House the emails were released to clear up misinformation about the process. The emails were the basis for the controversial "talking points" memos that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice used when discussing the attacks that killed four Americans in Benghazi.

The officials said the emails showed the talking points were based on intelligence information approved by the CIA and meant to avoid pre-judging the outcome of an FBI investigation into the September 12, 2012, attacks.

Republicans say the talking points were an attempt by the administration to portray the attacks as arising from a spontaneous protest, and not an organized terrorist assault as Obama campaigned for re-election.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Doina Chiacu)