Former CIA Director David Petraeus testified in a closed-door hearing Friday morning that his agency determined immediately after the Sept. 11 Libya attack that "Al Qaeda involvement" was suspected -- but the line was taken out in the final version circulated to administration officials, according to a top lawmaker who was briefed.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who spoke to reporters after Petraeus testified before the House Intelligence Committee, indicated he and other lawmakers still have plenty of questions about the aftermath of the attack.
"No one knows yet exactly who came up with the final version of the talking points," he said.
Petraeus was heading next to the Senate Intelligence Committee to testify.
Petraeus' testimony both challenges the Obama administration's repeated claims that the attack was a "spontaneous" protest over an anti-Islam video, and according to King conflicts with his own briefing to lawmakers on Sept. 14. Sources have said Petraeus, in that briefing, also described the attack as a protest that spun out of control.
"His testimony today was that from the start, he had told us that this was a terrorist attack," King said, adding that he told Petraeus he had a "different recollection."
Still, the claim that the CIA's original talking points were changed is sure to stoke controversy on the Hill.
"The original talking points were much more specific about Al Qaeda involvement. And yet the final ones just said indications of extremists," King said, adding that the final version was the product of a vague "inter-agency process."
Coming from CNN may help
Washington (CNN) -- Former CIA Director David Petraeus testified on Capitol Hill on Friday that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was an act of terrorism committed by al Qaeda-linked militants.
That's according to U.S. Rep. Peter King of New York, who spoke to reporters after the closed hearing, which lasted an hour and 20 minutes.
The account Petraeus gave was different from the description the Obama administration gave on September 14, King said.
Then, the attack was described as "spontaneous," the result of a protest against an anti-Muslim film that got out of control outside the compound.
King said that the "spontaneous" adjective was "minimized" during Petraeus' testimony Friday.
He had told us that this was a terrorist attack and there were terrorists involved from the start," King said. "I told him, my questions, I had a very different recollection of that (earlier account)," he said. "The clear impression we (lawmakers) were given was that the overwhelming amount of evidence was that it arose out of a spontaneous demonstration and it was not a terrorist attack."
So is it just that the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing? I am not following so well. It appears that they didn't know what they were doing, that the CIA misread it, the Administration accepted their take on it and later reversed themselves on it when it was apparent that it was ineed unrelated to the rioting over the stupid film.
If that is the case, it is a sham but it won't bring the Government down.
Or am I misreading it?
I really don't know. My unknowing (I want to emphasize this) perception is that it was known from the begining that it was a terrorist attack and that that 'someone' (the whitehouse?) didn't want this information to be out there for the public (even though it of course would come out). Because the other alternative is that they didn't know (which is a little scary in itself) but the testimony is that they did. Was that video and the misinformation about a demonstration meant to distract or was it genuine confusion? Neither is very flattering.
Ugh. I'm not trying to stir the pot or anything. They all just need to give honest teztimony and even if it is bad or makes someone look bad, get it over with and move on.
I have had a lot of typos lately too. :)
I am not out to embarrass anyone, but I agree that they need to be honest and the others need to stop spinning conspiracy theories until the truth is out.
I hope it is just a 'tempest in a teapot' .
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