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Benghazi e-mails put pressure on Obama administration

world Updated: May 12, 2013 00:55 IST

President Barack Obama’s administration fought back on Friday against Republican accusations that it covered up details of last year’s deadly assault on a US mission in Libya, after a news report that memos on the incident were edited to omit a CIA warning of a threat posed by al Qaeda.

The report by ABC News gave a new momentum to the highly partisan flap over whether the administration tried to avoid casting the September 11, 2012, attack as terrorism at that time since the presidential election was only less than two months away.

ABC released 12 versions of the administration’s “talking points” on Benghazi that appeared to show how various agencies - particularly the State Department and the CIA — shaped what became the Obama’s administration’s initial playbook for explaining how four Americans, including the United States ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in the attack.

The report came two days after a hearing by a House of Representatives committee in which Gregory Hicks, a former US diplomat in Libya, gave a dramatic account of the night of the attack and what he described as a poorly handled response to it.