A newly released email has again put President
Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security advisor, wrote the email to help prepare
He urged Rice "to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy."
Republicans and administration critics long have accused the
Several Republicans described the latest email as a "smoking gun" that showed the White House sought to cover up a lethal terrorist attack for partisan gain.
The crude video, made in the U.S., sparked protests and riots in more than 35 cities in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. But the
Rhodes’ email was dated Sept. 14, 2012, three days after the Benghazi attack. It was obtained by the conservative group Judicial Watch through a
White House spokesman
"It was based on currently available information," Carney said. "And as you can imagine, in those days after an attack, in a regional city in a far-away country, that information was not complete, which is what we said repeatedly."
McCain also challenged Carney's statement that the guidance given to Rice was based on the best available intelligence.
Rhodes “had no information that there was a spontaneous demonstration sparked by a video. That was manufactured somewhere,” McCain said on the
Rhodes' email to Rice was circulated to a large group of White House aides, including Carney. It included talking points on how the Obama administration was handling the violence and tried to anticipate reporters' questions.
One of those questions was whether there was truth to a report that the Obama administration had received and ignored intelligence about a possible attack.
"That story is absolutely wrong," Rhodes wrote. "We are not aware of any actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent. We also see indications that this action was related to the video that has sparked protests in other countries."