Fox news is reporting that former CIA Director David Petraeus will testify in a closed-door Capital Hill intelligence hearing that he believed the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was a terror attack by an al Qaeda-linked group within 24 hours, not the result of an uprising against an anti-Muslim video. He also will reportedly testify that he’s unsure who gave U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice the talking points that seemed to blame the video — talking points she used on the Sunday talk shows.
Catherine Herridge revealed the information in a TV report on Fox Friday morning. Shortly after, Fox released a text version [Emphasis added]:
Former CIA Director David Petraeus was expected to tell lawmakers in a pair of closed-door hearings Friday morning that he believed the Libya attack was terrorism within the first 24 hours and suspected a regional Al Qaeda affiliate and the militant Ansar al-Sharia were behind it, a source close to Petraeus told Fox News.
Petraeus arrived to meet with House lawmakers early Friday morning. His account would be sure to raise more questions from lawmakers, considering the conflicting narratives that have emerged from the intelligence community and other agencies about the attack. Petraeus himself gave a briefing three days after the attack, according to sources, in which he described it as a protest over an anti-Islam film that spun out of control.
It was similar to the account given on five Sunday shows on Sept. 16 by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice — and Rice’s defenders have since insisted she was merely basing her statements on the intelligence at the time.
Yet Petraeus, Fox News was told, on Friday was planning to bring with him the original “talking points” prepared by the CIA.
The source said Petraeus “has no idea what was provided” to Rice or who was the author of the talking points she used.
“He had no idea she was going on talk shows” until the White House announced it one or two days before.
“No one could say for sure who finalized those talking points,” Herridge said on TV.
“The intelligence community gives assessments, not talking points,” she noted.
CNN also reported (via Washington Free Beacon) the news, and reporter Barbara Starr adds Petraeus feels there is a lot of “confusion” and “misrepresentation” of what he told Congress in his first briefing:
“[Petraeus] will also say he had his own talking points separate from U.N. ambassador Susan Rice. [Hers] came from somewhere other in the administration than his direct talking points,” Starr Said.
“When he looks at what Susan Rice said,” she added, “here is what Petraeus’s take is, according to my source: Petraeus developed some talking points laying it all out. those talking points as always were approved by the intelligence community. But then he sees Susan Rice make her statements and he sees input from other areas of the administration. Petraeus — it is believed — will tell the committee he is not certain where Susan Rice got all of her information.”
Still, it’s unclear how exactly Petraeus will reconcile his previous testimony with what he’s expected to say.
This story has been updated.