Former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus gave closed-door briefings to Congress on Friday that focused not on the developing sex scandal that led to his resignation, but on the September attack on the US Consulate building in Libya which killed four Americans.
Petraeus maintained that he consistently referred to the Consulate attack as the work of terrorists when talking to Congressional intelligence committees and other government agencies of the Executive Branch.
“I told him…I had a very different recollection of that,” said Republican House Intelligence Committee member Peter King to reporters after the briefing.
“The original talking points prepared by the CIA were different than the final ones put out,” King continued. Initially, he said, they were “much more specific on al Qaeda involvement.”
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, (D-MD), on the other hand, disagreed with King’s recollection of the Sept. 14 briefing.
Ruppersberger said, “My recollection was…[Petraeus said] it was the result of the protest…but he also said in the group there were some extremists and some where al Qaeda affiliates.”
The controversy over when the Obama administration knew it was the work of terrorist groups and when they decided to tell the American people will continue far beyond this initial Petraeus testimony.
The issue has become a political football with Republicans using it to trip up the Obama administration and block potential nominees like UN envoy Susan Rice, who is thought to be considered for the position of Secretary of State in Obama’s second term and who has been accused of giving inaccurate public accounts of the incident.