This is almost a year ago, but must not be forgotten:
Former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus appeared before closed-door sessions of the House and Senate Intelligence committees in separate meetings, this morning, and apparently told a different story than the one he told on Sept. 14, just days after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) told reporters after the meeting on the House side, that Petraeus had said he had been telling the Congress from the start that it had been a terrorist attack and that terrorists were involved, but King said that he had a “very different recollection of that.” He said that the clear impression the committee was given at the time was that “the overwhelming amount of evidence is that it was — rose out of a spontaneous demonstration and it was not a terrorist attack, and I pointed out the following week when Matt Olsen said it was a terrorist attack, and it made headlines, because until then, the administration was saying it was not terrorists.”
However, King was clear that what Petreaus believes now was that the attack did not arise out of a spontaneous demonstration. “It was not spontaneous, and it was clear terrorist involvement,” King said. He told reporters that Petraeus had made it clear that the CIA knew almost immediately that there was “overwhelming evidence” that the attack was carried out by al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists, and he specifically identified Ansar al-Sharia.
King added that the talking points as drafted for the White House (the talking points that U.S. UN Ambassador Susan Rice used in her Sunday talk-show appearances on Sept. 16), immediately after the attack, “were specific about Al Qaida affiliations or Al Qaida terrorist activities,” but that, by some process yet to be understood, “that was taken out.” The talking points also went to the Director of National Intelligence, the Departments of State, Justice, and Defense, and other agencies, but that Petraeus told them he didn’t know why the reference to al Qaida had been taken out or who had done it.
On the Senate side, Diane Fienstein (D-Calif.), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and committee vice chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) were both much less forthcoming than King, refusing to comment on any of the substance of the hearing. Chambliss said there were still a lot of unanswered questions, though Petraeus’s testimony did clarify a number of issues. He blasted Rice, however, not on the talking points per se, but for going beyond them. Chambliss accused her of crediting Obama with leading the effort to decimate Al Qaida, when she knew, in fact, that Al Qaida was responsible for the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens.