White House Defends New Benghazi Email

"This document was not about Benghazi," Carney told ABC's Jonathan Karl.

ByABC News
April 30, 2014, 5:02 PM

April 30, 2014— -- White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today sought to defend a newly released email from a White House communications adviser, prepping then-U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice for her round of interviews about the Benghazi attack.

"This document was not about Benghazi," Carney told ABC's Jonathan Karl.

“It is often forgotten that during that time period there was an enormous amount of attention and focus, appropriately, on the fact that there were protesters, sometimes violent protesters, surrounding U.S. embassies, causing us to draw down personnel at those embassies, causing great concern, understandably, about the safety of American personnel at other diplomatic facilities around the Muslim world. And that was a focus of a great deal of press attention, and thus would be, as the promos indicate, one of the areas of focus of those Sunday shows.”

The e-mail from National Security Council communications adviser Ben Rhodes, lists as a "goal" of Rice's round of interviews "to show that these protests were rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy."

The video Rhodes referenced was an anti-Muslim YouTube video that sparked other protests in the Muslim world.

While that instruction wasn't included under a section about Benghazi, it was included in the overall preparation for a round of interviews that figured to focus heavily on the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility that took the lives of four Americans.

Elsewhere in the document (as in previously disclosed talking points), the White House advises Rice that the Benghazi attack was "spontaneously inspired" by protests at the U.S. embassy in Egypt that were motivated by an anti-Muslim video.