Sixty percent of voters think the Obama administration is trying to cover up what happened during the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi compared to 28 percent who think the administration is being open and transparent, a new Fox News poll said.
Fifty-three percent disapprove of how the Obama administration has handled the response to the attacks, which claimed the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Sixty-two percent say President Obama could have done more to help the Americans on the night of the attack, compared to 27 percent who think he could not have.
Last month, a similar poll showed that 46 percent of voters thought the Obama administraion was covering up what happened there, compared to 43 percent who did not.
Under growing pressure, the White House last Wednesday released emails that showed the talking points crafted to explain the deadly terrorist attack were changed at the behest of a State Department worried about political fallout.
The 100-page cache of email printouts shows that during the editing process, references to the fact that U.S. intelligence agencies believed al Qaeda-linked extremists may have been involved in the attack were removed, as were references that the CIA had received general warnings about the worsening security situation in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city.
The talking points were originally drafted by the CIA, but the references to terrorist groups and the security situation were stripped after “deep concerns” were raised by the “leadership” at the State Department, the emails show.
The emails also show that several changes were made at the behest of White House officials, including John O. Brennan, Mr. Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser at the time who is now director of the CIA. That contradicts repeated statements by White House press secretary Jay Carney.
Fifty percent of voters in the poll released late Tuesday think the Obama administration changed the CIA’s description of the attack for political reasons, compared to 37 percent who think it was for security reasons to avoid hurting the ongoing investigation.
Still, the controversy ranks second among voters’ concerns with three ongoing crises the White House is dealing with. The IRS’s targeting tax applications of certain conservative groups concerns was first, with 32 percent listing that as the controversy that concerns them the most, followed by Benghazi, at 27 percent, and the Justice Department’s seizing phone records of reporters third, at 21 percent.
The poll of 1,013 registered voters taken May 18-10 has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.