Republicans aren't letting up in their pursuit of the Benghazi incident, with John Boehner yesterday calling for the release of an email that he claimed would prove that the Obama administration knew from the beginning that the incident had been an attack by Islamic terrorists. Congress has seen the email, and one Republican even read from it at Wednesday's hearing, but Boehner wants it made available to the public. But the New York Times has seen the email, and doesn't see a smoking gun.
In the excerpt read yesterday, Rep. Trey Gowdy quoted the phrase "Islamic terrorists." But in the email reviewed by the Times, State Department official A. Elizabeth Jones writes that "the group that conducted the attacks—Ansar al-Shariah—is affiliated with Islamic extremists" (emphasis ours). The key word here is "extremists," because while the White House was slow to acknowledge the incident as terrorism, everyone, including Susan Rice, said Islamic extremists may have been involved. Republicans, however, don't see much difference, and say that regardless of the word-parsing, the email is damning in that it is a clear description of events that came just a day after the attack.