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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

November 16, 2012 - 9:21 am

A member of the House Intelligence Committee who was in this morning’s closed-door testimony of former CIA Director David Petraeus said that CIA’s original talking points on the Benghazi terrorist attack were different from what was released by the White House.

Petraeus agreed to meet this morning with the House and Senate Intelligence panels after committee concerns that the disgraced general was taking valuable info on the attack with him as he resigned a week ago.

“The original talking points prepared by the CIA were different from the ones that were finally put out,” Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) told reporters outside the hearing. “As far as General Petraeus, his testimony today was that from the start he had told us that this was a terrorist attack, terrorists involved from the start.”

King called the meeting “very cordial.”

“I think he has a different impression of the impressions he left on September 14th,” he said of Petraeus’ original briefing with lawmakers in which the attack was linked to protests over an anti-Muhammad video.

Petraeus did not give testimony under oath, and reportedly told lawmakers that his affair with his biographer did not affect his testimony.

King said members got the details sought about Petraeus’ fact-finding trip to Libya days before the election, though the details are classified.

“Other than the fact that they now clearly believe there was — did not arise out of a demonstration. It was not spontaneous and it was clear terrorist involvement,” the congressman said.

He said the challenge now is going through the chain of custody — between seven and nine agencies, King estimated — to see exactly where the story changed.

“This is ongoing. I mean this is — it still can be — obviously, you know, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, and also people at the White House, to see if anyone at the White House changed their talking points.”

“He was saying there are many strings of intelligence but he also stated that he thought all along he made it clear that there was significant terrorist involvement. And that is not my recollection of what he told us on September 14th,” King stressed.

King also said Petraeus confirmed that he was “definitely fully aware of what was going on” the night of the attack.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
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