Gen. David Petraeus reportedly told lawmakers he didn’t believe the Sept. 11 assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was anything but a terror attack. The CIA also allegedly made reference to al Qaeda in its draft talking points on the incident, but they were removed, the Associated Press is reporting.
Petraeus isn’t sure who got rid of those references in the final version of the talking points to adminitration officials. But he doesn't believe those actions were politically motivated. President Barack Obama was on the campaign trail when the consulate attack happened.
That draft allegedly included reference to the militant groups Ansar al-Shariah and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. In the final draft, those names were replaced with “extremist,” a congressional staffer told the AP.
U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice originally said immediately after the attack that it was spontaneous, resulting from a demonstration against an anti-Islam video posted on YouTube. Obama referred to it as an act of terror in a speech the day after the attack. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said terrorists were involved, further confusing the nation as to what really took place.
Finally, the administration later labeled the incident a terror attack once it got more details.
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“The fact is, the reference to al Qaeda was taken out somewhere along the line by someone outside the intelligence community,” Rep. Peter King, a Republican, told the AP. “We need to find out who did it and why.”
A Republican-led investigation has shown several security incidents leading up to the consulate attack with heavy gunfire on Sept. 11. They believe those incidents should have been sufficient warning. However, there were multiple requests for additional security, which were denied.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio told the news agency that based on Petraeus’ testimony, “clearly the security measures were inadequate despite an overwhelming and growing amount of information that showed the area in Benghazi was dangerous, particularly on the night of Sept. 11.”
Petraeus resigned from the CIA last week because of an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.