WASHINGTON — Lawmakers said Sunday they want to know who had a hand in creating the Obama administration’s now-discredited ‘‘talking points’’ about the Sept. 11 attack on a US diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, and why a final draft omitted the CIA’s early conclusion that terrorists were involved.
The answers could explain why President Obama and top aides, including UN Ambassador Susan Rice, described the attack for days afterward as a protest against an anti-Islam video that spontaneously turned violent and why they played down any potential link to Al Qaeda.
Administration officials have defended the portrayal of the attack as relying on the best information available at the time that didn’t compromise classified intelligence. Democrats say CIA and other intelligence officials signed off on the final talking points.
Republicans have alleged a coverup, accusing White House aides of hiding the terrorism link in the run-up to the Nov. 6 presidential election so voters wouldn’t question Obama’s assertion that Al Qaeda’s power had diminished.
‘‘I know the narrative was wrong and the intelligence was right. . . . We’re going to get to the bottom of how that happened,’’ said Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she doesn’t believe the White House altered the document for political reasons. But she said she has lingering concerns about how the talking points were created when it was clear early on that the military-style assault wasn’t a simple protest gone awry.