Former CIA official disputes claims on Benghazi

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The former deputy director of the CIA is rejecting claims that political pressure to protect President Barack Obama and onetime Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton forced him to edit the widely debunked talking points on the deadly 2012 Benghazi attack.

Mike Morell offered a lengthy defense of his actions in a rare open hearing of the House Intelligence committee on Wednesday. Republicans are pressing ahead with their investigation of the Sept. 11 assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Morrell disputed allegations that he or the agency "cooked the books" on the attack and then tried to cover up their actions. Morell had deleted references to al-Qaida in revising the talking points.

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