Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said former CIA Director David Petraeus told lawmakers Friday that he believed all along that terrorists were involved in attacking the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya — at odds with his initial testimony two months ago when he labeled the Sept. 11 assault a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islam video.
“General Petraeus’ testimony today was that from the start he told us that this was a terrorist attack, that terrorists were involved from the start,” King told reporters after the closed-door hearing before the House intelligence committee. “I told him in my question I had a very different recollection of that.”
King added, “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…he has I think a different impression of the impressions he left on Sept. 14.”
King said a CIA analyst with Petraeus testified that the agency’s talking points for the White House immediately after the attack were specific about Al-Qaeda terrorist involvement but that the line was apparently removed from the final version of events.
“After it went through the process…that was taken out,” King said.
United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice said on Sept. 16 that the best information available indicated the Benghazi attacks were prompted by the video. It took the White House about a week to label them terrorism.
King called the proceedings “very cordial” and said everyone thanked Petraeus for his service following his resignation one week ago after admitting to an extramarital affair.