The PJ Tatler

You Know Who Still Hasn't Called Benghazi a Terrorist Attack?

Gen. David Petraeus. He’s currently the head of the CIA, widely credited with winning the war in Iraq. On Sept 13, as a commenter on the Infinite Spin post pointed out, Petraeus told members of Congress that he believed that the Benghazi sacking happened because of the YouTube video.

[A]n official said, “No one … believed that the mortars, indirect and direct fire, and the RPGs were just the work of a mob — no one.”

Yet a congressional source told Fox News that CIA Director David Petraeus, during a briefing with members of the House Intelligence Committee three days after the attack, espoused the view that Benghazi was an out-of-control demonstration prompted by the YouTube video. According to the source, this was “shocking” to some members who were present and saw the same intelligence pointing toward a terrorist attack.

Is it possible that Petraeus is among the sources for the Benghazi deception?

Let’s flash back to Sept 2010. Gen Petraeus, then commanding US forces in Afghanistan, publicly voiced displeasure when an American citizen announced his plan to burn a Koran to protest Islamist atrocities. In the summer of 2010 Petraeus replaced Gen Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan, who had made disparaging remarks about the Obama administration in an interview with Rolling Stone.

Gen. David Petraeus said Tuesday that the “Burn the Koran Day” event to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks could endanger U.S. soldiers and civilians in Afghanistan and would be welcomed by Islamic extremists for its propaganda value.

“Images of the burning of a Quran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan — and around the world — to inflame public opinion and incite violence,” Petraeus wrote in an e-mail to reporters.

One reason to fear that disrespecting the Koran can lead to riots comes from an incident that Newsweek reported, and later retracted, in 2005 regarding treatment of a Koran at Gitmo. The false story that US troops had not handled Korans according to Islamic standards (not being Muslims, they should be under no obligation to follow Islamic standards) sparked deadly riots across the world and especially in Afghanistan. Newsweek’s reporting got people killed.

Petraeus’ role in the 2010 Koran burning episode was somewhat reprised by the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. During that 2010 controversy, Petraeus called out Rev. Terry Jones to urge him not to burn the Koran. After the 9-11-12 attacks in Cairo and Benghazi, Gen. Martin Dempsey called up Rev. Terry Jones to urge him not to support the obscure YouTube movie then being blamed for the attacks. Gen Dempsey’s phone call to Jones took place on Sept 12 — the day after the attack (and the day President Obama took off for a Vegas fundraiser), and a couple of days before the Obama administration publicly identified the alleged filmmaker and hauled him in for midnight questioning. That filmmaker, by the way, remains in jail. The FBI is barely on the ground in Benghazi.

Where did Gen. Dempsey get the idea to call up Rev. Jones? Do top Pentagon generals have the obscure preacher on speed-dial?

Both generals surely raised Jones’ profile, and along with it, the likelihood that Islamists will target him for harm.

As has been the case since the day of the attacks, something isn’t adding up here. Both State and the US intelligence community now say that they never thought Benghazi was any response to a movie. Lt Col Andrew Wood testified Wednesday that based on his military experience, Benghazi was “instantly recognizable” as terrorism. But someone influential obviously did not share that view. Who?

Gen Petraeus heads the intelligence community, or at least the CIA part of it. He has not publicly said what he believes regarding the 9-11-12 attacks. The only clue we have to his thoughts on the subject is that report that as of 9-13 he believed it to have been a response to a movie, plus the circumstantial evidence of Gen Dempsey’s call to Rev. Jones on 9-12.

On Oct 9, a group of senators sent Petraeus, and DNI James Clapper and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, a letter asking them all to explain their positions on Benghazi. They have not answered.

Whether Petraeus turns out to be the source or a source for the Bengazi deception does not in any way excuse anyone else who engaged in the disinformation campaign and the attack on Mitt Romney that followed. Alone among major American political figures, Romney understood the attacks as they were happening and he stepped up to defend American values and interests while the Obama administration went silent. Romney aimed before firing; Team Obama collectively blamed America first.

Update: Diana West has much more. Is Petraeus planning a golden parachute out of the CIA and into Princeton?