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Fact Check Friday: Scandals Hit The White House

Looking At The IRS And Benghazi
President Barack Obama speaks in the Rose Garden at the White House - May 16, 2013 (credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama speaks in the Rose Garden at the White House – May 16, 2013 (credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - It’s that time again, time to use a lie detector on the people running the country.

We call it Fact Check Friday, and we have help from factcheck.org, a nonpartisan non-profit part of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia

This week, a look inside the scandals bogging down the White House, starting with the IRS.

On Monday, President Barack Obama said, “The IRS, as an independent agency, requires absolute integrity and people have to have confidence that they’re applying it in a non-partisan way.”

The President suggested that the Internal Revenue Service is autonomous. Is that true?

“No, it’s not autonomous. It’s not an independent agency, as the President described it,” factcheck.org’s Eugene Kiely told WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot. “It’s, in fact, a bureau of the Treasury Department and the person who heads the IRS could be fired by the President at will.”

About the Benghazi attack last September 11, the President called last week’s House hearing a political circus and said nothing new came out of it.

“There’s no there there,” Obama said.

Is he right?

“There was some new information that came out,” Kiely said. “What we learned was that when the press secretary said that the White House and State Department was not involved in making any changes to the talking points, was false because there were 12 different versions of the talking points and they were extensively revised at the behest of the State Department.”

So does that play into Republicans, and Sen. John McCain in particular, who said, “I’d call it a cover up.”

“No. Actually it proves the opposite, and that’s another thing that we learned here,” Kiely said. “Now that we have a clearer picture of how those talking points, the changes that were made to them weren’t made for political reasons. They were made for internal reasons, a dispute between the CIA and the State Department.”

Is it correct, what Jay Carney said, that the White House made no substantive changes?

“Well, the White House didn’t make any substantive changes… The State Department did,” Kiely said. “This meeting where all these changes had ultimately occurred occurred at the White House.”

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