As I wrote last night, yesterday’s testimony to Congress by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Acting CIA Director Mike Morell left plenty of work for General Petraeus, who is testifying today. For example, neither Clapper nor Morell could shed any real light on why the official line of the intelligence community apparently moved away from the initial (and correct) view that the Benghazi attack was terrorism.
Now, CNN reports (via the Weekly Standard) that Petraeus may not be able to shed much light on this question either. But by not shedding it, he may well deepen the scandal.
According to CNN, Petraeus will say he knew almost immediately after the September 11 attack, that the group Ansar al Sharia, the al Qaeda sympathizing group in Libya, was responsible for the attacks. Petraeus will also say that he had his own talking points separate from U.N. ambassador Susan Rice, and that Rice’s came from somewhere else in the administration. CNN says that its reporting is based on information from a source close to Petraeus.
In other words, as I suggested last night, the administration fixed the intelligence, presumably because it wanted to hide the fact that al Qaeda, supposedly in its death throes due to President Obama, killed Americans on Sept. 11. That, at least, is the conclusion that will emerge if Petraeus testifies as CNN’s source says he will.
UPDATE: Gen. Petraeus has indeed testified that the CIA’s talking points were changed to omit references to al Qaeda, according to Rep. Peter King, who heard the General’s testimony. King also says that Petraeus claimed today that in his prior testimony to Congress he characterized the attack in Benghazi as terrorism. King recalls Petraeus’ prior testimony differently.
Petraeus also testified today that he has no idea who altered the CIA’s talking points on Benghazi. Petraeus also did not know what information was provided to Susan Rice, or that she was going to appear on talk shows to discuss Benghazi.
The plot thickens.