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Asked about the removal of the Musudans, spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “The current situation on the peninsula remains complex and sensitive. We hope that the relevant parties will do more things that will benefit peace and stability on the peninsula and help ease the situation.”

A senior Obama administration official said before the removal of the Musudans that he could not confirm that Chinese pressure is having an impact on Pyongyang’s behavior.

“It seems kind of counterintuitive given the low ebb in [China-North Korea] relations,” the official said.

BENGHAZI TALKING POINTS

Two leaked drafts of the CIA-origin talking points used by the Obama administration in publicly responding to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, provide more evidence of political attempts to hide links to al Qaeda and Islamist terrorists.

An initial version completed at 11 a.m. Sept. 14 stated that the attacks were “spontaneously inspired” by protests at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli and that the attackers included “Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda.” The group — al Qaeda-linked militia Ansar al-Shariah — also was mentioned as one culprit.

According to documents obtained by Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard, who first reported the talking points, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland protested the mention of Islamists and al Qaeda in the talking points. She cited opposition from senior State Department officials who were not further identified as the reason for removing the references.

A second draft produced Sept. 15 at 9:45 a.m. dropped any mention of Islamists linked to al Qaeda. Instead, the points substituted a reference to the CIA having produced reports in the past about “the threat of al Qaeda-linked extremists in Benghazi and eastern Libya.”

The final version produced Sept. 15 scrubbed all references to al Qaeda and Islamists, stating that unspecified “extremists” were suspected in the attack.

The downplaying of the Islamic extremists and al Qaeda links to the attack followed President Obama’s speech to the Democratic National Convention on Sept. 6 when he said that “al Qaeda is on the path to defeat.” Some suspect that the talking points were sanitized in the context of the presidential election campaign and the administration’s political narrative that al Qaeda was in decline, intelligence officials said.

Under White House counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan, now CIA director, references to the Islamist nature of terrorism and jihad, or holy war, were ordered removed from U.S. government counterterrorism training after pressure from Islamist advocacy groups.

CIA‘S BENGHAZI SECRETS

The dramatic House testimony by State Department officials Wednesday shined light on the Obama administration’s response to the Benghazi terrorist attack on Sept. 11.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing focused on why there was no military rescue operation and whether the administration lied in failing to initially label the attack the work of Islamist terrorists.

However, a U.S. intelligence official tells Inside the Ring that the hearing and congressional inquiries have failed to delve into what the official said is another major scandal: CIA covert arms shipments to Syrian rebels through Benghazi.

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