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The former deputy director of the CIA insisted on Wednesday that he didn't edit the widely debunked talking points on the 2012 Benghazi attack due to political pressure to protect President Barack Obama and onetime Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
In a rare open session, Mike Morell offered a lengthy defense of his actions and the work of the spy agency in the politically-charged aftermath of the Sept. 11 assault on the diplomatic mission in Libya.
Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in two separate terror attacks over a chaotic period of several hours.
Responding to questions, Morell, who served six presidents, Republicans and Democrats, during a 33-year career with the CIA, was even more emphatic.
"I never allowed politics to influence what I said or did. Never," he said.
Morell deleted references to extremist threats linked to al-Qaida in versions of the talking points that were used by Susan Rice, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, in a series of Sunday talk show appearances. Republicans have accused the Obama administration of trying to mislead the American people about an act of terrorism in the heat of the presidential campaign.