White House denies heavy edits to talking points

Shorter Question Everything

Benghazi Testimony By Petraeus Shreds GOP Attack On Rice: In short, Rice was using declassified talking points, developed and approved by the intelligence community, when she discussed the Benghazi attack. So McCain’s nasty personal denunciation of her , along with most of his claims about how the White House handled Benghazi, has been blown out of the water like so much naval scrap. The Arizona senator, his colleagues, and their loud enablers on Fox News and elsewhere in the wingnut media will never apologize to Rice. But that is what they owe her.

The White House denied Saturday having heavily edited talking points to UN Ambassador Susan Rice about the deadly attacks on a US mission in Libya to remove references to terrorism. “The only edit that was made by the White House and also by the State Department was to change the word ‘consulate’ to the word ‘diplomatic facility,’ since the facility in Benghazi was not formally a consulate,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters aboard Air Force One.

• The non-partisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed complaints Thursday with both the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) alleging that Karl Rove and his secretive Crossroads GPS violated election law and may have engaged in a criminal conspiracy to do so. Under campaign finance law and FEC regulations, 501(c)(4) groups, like Crossroads GPS, can raise unlimited funds from wealthy individuals and corporations without having to disclose their donors. The only time donors to these secretive groups must be disclosed is when donors give more than $200 explicitly “for the purpose of furthering an independent expenditure.” According to CREW, Rove expressly asked for and received millions of dollars in contributions specifically to fund an independent expenditure effort in support of unsuccessful Republican Ohio Senate nominee Josh Mandel. Crossroads GPS may also be in hot water for its apparent failure to register as a charity in Virginia, as required by law.

Madoff accountant’s son commits suicide in Ohio: The 23-year-old son of the accountant who helped Bernie Madoff hide his Ponzi scheme shot himself in his apartment in Ohio, police said yesterday. Jeremy Friehling’s shocking suicide comes two years after Madoff’s son, Mark, hanged himself with a dog leash in his family’s SoHo apartment on the second anniversary of his father’s arrest. Friehling was the son of embattled accountant David Friehling, who pleaded guilty in 2009 to helping conceal Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme. Faculty advisers at Ohio State University, where Friehling was a medical student, became concerned after he wrote suicidal posts on Facebook, according to Columbus Police Homicide.

Barack Obama is in Thailand for his first foreign trip since his re-election. The US President flew into Bangkok for the first stop of a three-country tour which will include Cambodia and Burma. He will hold top-level meetings and a news conference with the Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, as well as meeting the Thai King, Bhumibol Adulyadej, who is in hospital where he has been recovering from an illness since September 2009. The main focus of the trip will be to Burma on Monday. Mr Obama will become the first US president ever to visit the country. The visit is a key indicator that Washington believes Burmese government reforms are genuine and continuing. He will meet both President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. On Friday, Washington announced it had lifted a ban on the import of goods from the country. The president’s visit follows a trip by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the country in December 2011 and a visit by British Prime Minister David Cameron in April 2011.

Israeli Negotiator: Hamas Commander Assassinated Hours After Truce. Israel broke an informal ceasefire on Wednesday by assassinating Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari in an air strike. The Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin, who helped mediate talks between Israel and Hamas in the deal to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, has revealed Jabari was assassinated just hours after he received the draft of a permanent truce agreement with Israel, which included mechanisms for maintaining the ceasefire. Baskin, the founder of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, joins us from Jerusalem. We also speak with Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer based in Gaza.

• Europe is preparing plans to join the United States in building a manned spaceship that would take men and women to the moon and beyond. The project is supported by the UK and could see a British astronaut launched into deep space before the end of the decade. The proposal to join in construction of the four-person US Orion spaceship will be debated at a meeting of ministers of the European Space Agency’s 20 member states in Italy this week. If passed, it would mean that for the first time Europe would be involved in building and launching manned space vehicles.

• Afghan police said Saturday two men were arrested with about 100 pounds of heroin near the country’s border with Iran. Col. Mohammad Musa Rasuli of the Nimroz provincial police said the drugs were seized and the two suspects taken into custody Friday. He said they were in a car traveling from Zaranj to Abresham Bridge, Pajhwok Afghan News reported. Rasuli said bout 2 tons of opium had been seized during counternarcotics operations in the province during the past two weeks.

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