David Petraeus will testify tomorrow before House and Senate intelligence committee lawmakers about the Benghazi fiasco. If today’s testimony before the same lawmakers by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Acting CIA Director Mike Morell is any indication, Petraeus will have a lot of explaining to do.
Based on this report by Fox News and statements made on Sean Hannity’s show by Reps. Peter King and Joe Heck, who participated in today’s hearing, the following picture emerges:
Initially, the CIA understood that terrorists were involved in the Benghazi attack, and their reporting said so. However, the reporting was changed to remove, or at the very least water down, references to the involvement of terrorists, i.e., a regional Al Qaeda branch and the militant Ansar al-Sharia. Neither Clapper nor Morell could explain today why this change was made. And neither knew for sure who finalized the talking points that read terrorism out of the attack.
Perhaps Petraeus can shed light on these questions tomorrow. Perhaps he can also explain why, during a September 14 briefing, he seemed so wedded to the explanation that the attack was in response to an anti-Islam video. Morrell said today that he wasn’t at the briefing and couldn’t address this question.
Perhaps Petraeus will take sole responsibility for doctoring the intelligence. If not, perhaps he will tell us who, or who else, was responsible. Perhaps it will turn out that the intelligence was “fixed” (not “fixed around,” just fixed) due to the involvment of the White House. Perhaps we will or learn that the White House was involved because it wanted to hide the fact that al Qaeda, supposedly in its death throes due to President Obama, killed Americans on Sept. 11. Or perhaps it will be up to us to infer this.