CNN: Petraeus To Testify He Knew “Almost Immediately” That Benghazi Attack Was Work Of Terrorists
If this CNN report is accurate, it’s likely to give Republicans fodder to keep this Benghazi story alive for some time longer:
David Petraeus is going to tell members of Congress that he “knew almost immediately after the September 11th attack, that the group Ansar al Sharia, the al Qaeda sympathizing group in Libya was responsible for the attacks,” CNN reports.
In his closed door meeting on the Hill, “[Petraeus] will also say he had his own talking points separate from U.N. ambassador Susan Rice. [Hers] came from somewhere other in the administration than his direct talking points,” Barbara Starr of CNN reports, referencing a source close to Petraeus.
The former CIA director will move to further himself from comments that didn’t accurately characterize the terror attack that Rice made 5 days after on national television shows.
“When he looks at what Susan Rice said,” CNN reports, “here is what Petraeus’s take is, according to my source. Petraeus developed some talking points laying it all out. those talking points as always were approved by the intelligence community. But then he sees Susan Rice make her statements and he sees input from other areas of the administration. Petraeus — it is believed — will tell the committee he is not certain where Susan Rice got all of her information.”
The White House has maintained that Rice’s comments were based on the CIA talking points. If this report is accurate, it would appear that other parties got their hands on those points after they left Langley.
I still don’t get what the objective of a conspiracy would be. Given the general tendency of the public to rally around the president when we are attacked by terrorists, the suggestion of a cover up to make it seem as though we weren’t “winning” the war on terror seems like a thin one. The only thing I’ve come up with is that admitting it was a terrorist attack on a smaller target like a consulate would bring more attention to that facility, which we now know had a substantial CIA presence. An attempt to deflect attention from this particular facility is about all I can come up with as a reasonable explanation.
The current CIA director testifed that:
This remains nothing more than an attempt to relitigate an attempt by the Republicans to exploit the tragedy to score points against Obama in the election. The outrage over someone relying on intelligence on the Republican side–the crowd who ignored “Bin laden determined to strike inside the US”–is less authentic than a $20 Rolex.
The conspiracy is that they relied on what the CIA and other intelligence sources were saying instead of going TERROR TERROR TERROR Giuliani style.
Also note that the supposed administration misdeeds here didn’t kill anyone–as opposed to the 3000+ who died on 9/11 when the Republicans failed to take Al Qaeda seriously. But, of course, those raising questions back then were guilty of politicizing a tragedy.
Have I mentioned how much contempt I have for this phony show of outrage and corpse-humping by Team RNC?
Okay, so it will be a witch hunt then….
Congress should spend about five minutes finding out where Susan Rice got her talking points, and the rest of the time finding out what led up to the attack. Something tells me it’s not going to be like that.
I dont understand all the brou-ha-ha over Patreaus’ affair.
Its only a long coming and just turnaround. You know, the general taking orders from his privates.
This is just the thing Romney needs to turn around the election.
Also, didn’t Mitt Romney humiliate himself on national television on the very point of whether Obama described the attack as an act of terrorism?
This is such a made up scandal.
1) The Ditherer in Chief dithered and didn’t issue a Cross-border authorization, something only the President can do
2) It undermines the spin that Obama has made the Muslims love America again
3) It undermines the spin that Libya wasn’t a disaster created by Obama
4) It undermines the spin that Al Qaeda is declining and not resurgent
5) It undermines Obama’s plan to cut back on Defense spending if we have active attacks on Americans and American diplomatic missions
Basically, the attack and failure to respond undermined Obama’s entire plan for defense spending and the lie that the Arab Spring was something more than a give-away to Islamist.
Let’s assume for a second that Ambassador Rice’s talking points were “modified” by someone at the White House, I still don’t see what the big scandal is. It’s not as if she was giving testimony to Congress or something. She went on some Sunday talk shows. Are we to believe that John McCain or Lindsey Graham have never said something on Meet The Press that wasn’t the 100% full and complete truth?
… that assumption aside, I agree with Jen above. I just can’t get my mind around what the (political) motive would have been to “lie”.
Seriously, what is the scandal? Show me one recent event where the original reports have been 100% correct? How much of the stuff that came out from the Petaeus affair is going to be found out not to be true? How much of the original reporting on the BP spill was accurate? Maybe we should be used to the fact that we’ve become spoiled children who must have what we want and must have it right now and in order to feed that need we’re going to get things wrong. I just don’t see a huge White House coverup on this – I just see our usual impatient incompetence.
Matt Steinglass explains it all:
Kevin Drum explains further:
Hmm…so the Benghazi attack singlehandedly will stop the defense budget from being cut? Wow, that’s an…interesting theory…meanwhile, keep badmouthing the Arab Spring…Arabs deserve to be under the thumbs of dictators and despots, right? As long as they are pals to the U.S….
Paul Waldman explains yet more:
I’ll add to the above that Bush had the DOJ prosecutors scandal, L’Affaire Plame, Abramoff, the WMD cover-up, the 9/11 attacks, etc.
@JKB: Judging from this post you are either really ignorant or just insanely stupid. Those points do not make a lick of sense. For example:
Outside of the right wing rumor mill, there is no evidence to support this claim. Even most reputable right wing sites won’t carry this idea. As people with actual military experience have stated over and over again, the type of rescue/support mission your tom clancy/expendables infused brain seems to keep imagining was not possible. It’s something that is not staffed for, nor could it be easily staffed for. But you drum on this because you simply do not know what you are talking about.
How is a single successful attack on a — relatively speaking — low security complex some proof that Al Qaeda is anywhere near the existential threat that they once were? This act is in no way comparable to their previous successful attacks against Western or Western allied targets.
Four people died. As a single consulate was destroyed. The answer to you clearly is “BUILD MORE BATTLESHIPS.” There is no logical connection between a single successful attack and the need to increase military spending.
Petraeus’s testimony something of a downer for Team Fox News:
CBS has up the CIA talking points that both Susan Rice and members of congress were operating off of. Read them — she stuck to them verbatim:
The Rice Sunday Show appearance part of this controversy was always some of the most idiotic conspiracy mongeringing that the top GOP officials have delved into in a long time.
Ah, so now that this has all been laid out by petraeus, all the idiots trying to ride this to a retroactive romney presidency will relax, and view the whole thing with nuance and clarity…right?
There’s still their theory that Obama was watching the live feed from a drone, munching popcorn and drinking his favorite micro-brew, Sharia Stout.
You can almost see the conservative deflation following Petraeus’ testimony. Over on Memeorandum, the conservative blogs have already pivoted from the Benghazi hearings to demonizing unions for forcing Hostess Brands’ closing.
Despite the best efforts of McCain, Issa, and the rightwingosphere, it looks like l’affaire Benghazi will gradually peter out to nothing.
While wearing a grey Mao suit and stroking a white cat sitting on his lap, no doubt.
I much prefer Infidel IPA. Brewed with real infidel, not that artificial garbage.
Here’s McCain’s reaction so far:
It’s Allah Ale or nothing for me, I’m afraid.
I’m hoping that as a result of this, McCain will stop getting constant invitations to be on the Sunday talk shows. Maybe there will be more room for female and minority commentators on those shows?
A guy can dream….
As far as I can tell, McCain et. al. are basically calling for public hearings about the CIA’s assets in Libya, which could very well wind up exposing other national security secrets, such as the State Dept’s nongovernmental security arrangements, JSOC and AFRICOM’s role in the region, NSA coverage, etc. etc. who knows, right?
Oh, those unintended consequences when factions meet the security state.
Benghazi has to be the worst case of fake outrage from the right since Lewinsky. There is no reason for the White House to cover this up.
Bin Laden Porter for me! If its not bin Laden, it’s not jihadist.
This is excellent. We can all start up the least popular brewery in America.
All this reveals is McCain and Graham have SERIOUS anger issues and they are not being well-managed, the result of decades of entitlement to power. “Out To Pasture” is their best course from here.
I thought the NY Times was your bible and yet you can’t seem to know what they report
So at the heart of the matter is, under Obama, even after his attack on Libya moved AFRICOM up the heat scale, proper staffing and assets weren’t provide. Question: Who is Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy?
Still, there would be records of Obama issuing a Cross Border Authorization, both verbal and through message traffic. Even though under Obama, AFRICOM was not manned even after Obama’s little war in Libya, Obama still didn’t authorize US Forces to enter Libya to rescue Americans under attack. “Do what is necessary to secure our people” is dereliction of duty since only the President can issue orders for US forces to cross an international border unilaterally.
After all these made up scandals that the right has been foaming at the mouth about, I don’t believe anything any of them say.
They are obviously doing Obama’s bidding, dulling me to the point where I won’t notice when he comes to take our guns away and eat our children, until it is too late. The only question is whether they are working for him directly, or whether they are simply useful idiots.
Oh no! That sounds terrible! But wait:
“The United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM or AFRICOM) is one of nine Unified Combatant Commands of the United States Armed Forces, headquartered at Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany.”
“The United States European Command (EUCOM) is one of nine Unified Combatant Commands of the United States military, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany”
AFRICOM and EUCOM are both HQ’ed in Stuttgart, Germany, and so AFRICOM, despite its name, was no nearer to the action than EUCOM. Any response force, therefore, would have been taking off from the exact same German airbase at the same time, no matter which command it ostensibly came from.
Hostess going out of business has a bigger national impact than this bull-pucky.
You know if Graham and McCain are involved it’s nonsense to begin with.
Those two clowns couldn’t find their own asses with both hands and a mirror.
To that point, OTB commenter Mike (who apparently has some degree of military experience) posted two rather insightful comments on a previous thread. Both — (1) and (2) — are very much worth a read and give a pretty good overview of both the military and political dynamics around some of these decision.
First of all, this I think is a good question to be asked in the aftermath of this. That said, it’s worth exploring (a) what staffing and asset requests had been made by the military and the State Department, and (b) were those realistic. That’s what these hearings should get at.
Of course, none of this was at all brought up in your previous right wing ranty post. So you’ve just changed your argument (to one that is, fundamentally, more productive, btw).
The issue that you can’t seem to get through that thick skull of yours, is that none of the commands staff the type of 24hr rapid response teams that are necessary for this sort of attack (because they don’t happen particularly frequently). See Mike’s posts from previous threads.
Further, I’d really like you to explain how unmanned drones or air support would have been useful in this sort of urban combat situation where a crowd is attacking a facility. Remember that a key problem with drone, in particular, is that they are AREA ATTACK tools. Hence the problem with collateral damage. Not exactly what you send in when you want to RESCUE people.
It does seem like the aftermath of this attack was mishandled and like the warnings could have been taken more seriously. If the Republicans would just stop there instead of jumping into silly “worse than Watergate” conspiracy theories, they would have a pretty good case.
It’s already been pointed out this is a loony idea with no evidence even by the low right wing rumor mill standards, but it wasn’t even necessary or a good idea.
How exactly did a single attack on a consulate turn it into a disaster?
The attack was by Ansar al-Sharia (Libya), not Al Qaeda. (Even if it was Al Qaeda, that matters why?)
OK, LOL doesn’t even begin to address how crazy this is. It’s so wrong it’s not even possible to respond to. The right wing is now a parody of itself, willing to repeat things so nonsensical that a rational conversation is no longer possible.
Hey Indeedy Doug! Keep the dream alive I say!
How many asinine posts does this make for you today? Remember, Quantity, not Quality.
And the only one targeted at a population that doesn’t drink.
It’s not the responsibility of the questioners to also provide answers. Hell, in court, it’s called “leading the witness.” No, it’s the job of the people who put out the inconsistencies to reconcile them.
So… after today, what questions still need to be answered?
Why was Ambassador Rice, who was completely out of the loop on the whole situation, dispatched as the point woman to put forth the official story?
Who removed the mentions of Al Qaeda from the CIA’s briefing papers before they were given to Rice?
Why were they removed?
I got theories.. but I’d rather hear the official story.
Preferably, an honest one, for a change.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Who cares why she went on a TV show? That’s like the least important thing ever.
Do you have actual evidence Al Qaeda was involved? Everything I’ve seen references Ansar al-Sharia (Libya) as being responsible.
@David M: Rice went out to represent the administration and give their story… and gave a bullshit one. And, after she pulled off the Full Ginsburg, the story was that she was ignorant and out of the loop.
If the latter was true, why was she dispatched in the first place?
@David M: Do you have actual evidence Al Qaeda was involved?
How is that germane to the question?
@Jenos Idanian #13:
WTF are you even talking about? The scandal has now deteriorated from “Obama didn’t call it an act of terror for two weeks” to “Rice shouldn’t have gone on the Sunday morning shows”? In a contest for most meaningless scandal point ever, you have officially won.
“We missed a prime chance to kill more brown people!”
That’s really what irks him & the “You guys go to war” crowd…
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Are you kidding, seems to me who actually carried out the attack is a lot more important than who said what on some Sunday show.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Because she was a senior State Dept official, and she had (as has already been established) the approved, unclassified info available at the time. What possible import could this have?
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Ummm… because if there _wasn’t_ good evidence (or unclassified evidence, which may be more to the point), why would it be mentioned in the press conference at all? It’s germane to the question because you brought it up, wise guy…
Again, unless they started secretly making people swear in before sitting down with David Gregory on Sunday mornings, it’s really not much of a scandal even if more/different information than Amb. Rice shared was known at the time.
The President’s political enemies really have some rather small straws to clutch at these days…
@Drew: I never thought the day would come, but I gave Drew a thumbs up for this. BRAVO!
@JKB: You remain a fool.
@CB: I don’t know. I think your missing the Gen. X/goth and snark links to the market.
@Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:
oh trust me, I’ve thought about it. make it good enough, and it sells itself
From Petraeus’ testimony on the Hill today ~
And a related bit from ABC News:
@JKB: “Basically, the attack and failure to respond undermined Obama’s entire plan for defense spending and the lie that the Arab Spring was something more than a give-away to Islamist. ”
Because if we don’t spend more on our military than all the other countries in the world put together, we won’t be able to handle a dozen guys with rocket launchers? I’m thinking that’s not really a great ROI.