Petraeus testifies before Congressional committee

Last Updated: Friday, November 16, 2012 - 23:53

Washington: Former CIA Director Gen (rtd) David Patreus today testified before a key Congressional committee in a closed door session responding to lawmakers queries on the terror attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi.

One of the most decorated military leaders of the US, Petraeus had resigned as head of the top American intelligence agency last week citing extra-marital affairs.
His close door hearing before House Intelligence Committee however left the lawmakers unsatisfied.

"Basically, it`s still not clear how the final talking points emerged. No one knows yet exactly who came up with the final version of the talking points, other than to say the original talking points prepared by the CIA were different from the ones that were finally put out," Congressman Peter King told reporters after the briefing.

"(As) far as General Petraeus, his testimony today was that from the start he had told us that this was a terrorist attack or there are terrorists involved from the start. I told him in my questions I had a very different recollection of that," the Republican lawmaker said.
"The clear impression we 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. I pointed out the following week when Matt Olsen said it was a terrorist attack, it made headlines, because until then the administration was saying it was not terrorists," he said.

King said there has been change in talking points on this issue.

"The original talking points were much more specific about al Qaeda involvement, and yet the final ones just said: indications of extremists. It said `indicate` even though it was clearly evidence of the CIA that there was al Qaeda involvement," he said.
Petraeus testified before the Congressional committee without any oath.

"He seemed to say at the time they didn`t realize the full significance of that and that for an unclassified statement, this was acceptable. Again, that`s still very vague," he said.
King said there was a CIA analyst with him who said that the talking points that were drafted were specifically about al Qaeda affiliations or al Qaeda terrorist activities.

"They didn`t have it in front of them. And they said that was after it went through the process, whatever that process is, which they seemed unclear about, that was taken out," he said.

PTI



First Published: Friday, November 16, 2012 - 23:53

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