Redacted information from the legislative intelligence session during which the members were shown video footage of the Benghazi consulate assault led to “heated exchanges” between the lawmakers and intelligence officials.
“The film is a composite from a number of sources. It is real-time, it does begin from when the incident, before the incident started, and it goes through the incident and the exodus,” Feinstein told reporters.
It appears that the lawmakers could not understand how the intelligence officials concluded that “the Mohammed video” caused the attack. “Top intelligence officials struggled to explain to lawmakers Thursday why their initial talking points after the Libya attack minimized the role of militant groups, putting pressure on former CIA Director David Petraeus to set the record straight in another round of closed-door hearings Friday.”
When pressed to identify who came up with the infamous “Mohammed video” talking points, neither Clapper nor Morell could recall the person responsible.
Lawmakers on the House and Senate intelligence committees heard testimony Thursday in private meetings with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Acting CIA Director Mike Morell. But Fox News was told there were heated exchanges on the House side, particularly over the talking points that administration officials relied on in the days after the Sept. 11 strike.
Fox News was told that neither Clapper nor Morell knew for sure who finalized that information. And they could not explain why they minimized the role of a regional Al Qaeda branch as well as the militant Ansar al-Sharia despite evidence of their involvement.
Their inability to recollect the provenance of talking points will doubtless mean the question will be put to David Petraeus when he comes before the committee. “These lingering questions are sure to confront Petraeus when he visits Capitol Hill Friday morning to testify on Libya.”
Meanwhile, outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be attending meetings in Australia, including a wine-tasting tour of the Penfolds vineyards in South Australia. A local paper asks, “Where Will Hillary Party In Australia”
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is scheduled to be in Burma to discuss matters of vital strategic importance in that region.
Additional reactions from lawmakers are now filtering out into the public. CNN reports that ‘real time’ video showed Ambassador being dragged from the consulate. ” A source familiar with the House committee hearing said the video included shots of Stevens being dragged out of the building.” One congressman has now used the “L” word in connection with Benghazi.
“What is clear is that this administration, including the president himself, has intentionally misinformed — read that, lied — to the American people in the aftermath of this tragedy,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, a GOP member of the House Foreign Affairs committee that on Thursday convened a panel of experts not directly connected with the Benghazi attack. “The arrogance and dishonesty reflected in all of this is a little bit breathtaking.”