First, a very quick recap to set the stage: On September 11th of last year, 4 Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens were killed in an attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya. In the wake of that attack, Republicans criticized Obama and the State Department for not labeling the attack as "terrorism" and instead claiming that it was a spontaneous result of a protest over an offensive video spreading on the internet. The GOP was convinced that the State Department's Benghazi talking points had been altered to protect itself and Obama, especially with election day just around the corner. After months of chest thumping and Congressional hearings (and chest thumping at Congressional hearings), a major Republican breakthrough: ABC News reported that the talking points had been edited a number of times, and that one edit came with this note (emphasis mine):
“We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation. We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting.”
Except, just one problem: ABC, despite all indications, wasn't reporting on an email they themselves had seen. That quote was from notes given to ABC by Republicans. Which Republicans specifically has not been reported, but CBS is now reporting that that's where the quote came from. On Wednesday, the White House released the actual emails, and they have key differences from the Republican version:
"We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation."
Previously it had been unclear how ABC got the email so crucially wrong. Now we know: Republicans intervened to interject a scandal. If there was an actual Benghazi scandal, that wouldn't be necessary. The Benghazi attack was a tragedy, and the State Department should and is taking that breach of its defenses seriously. But the Obama Administration didn't try to cover up anything about Benghazi for political gain. The surest sign of that is that Republicans had to invent a scandal to keep the Benghazi narrative going.