Friday, November 16, 2012

UPDATED: What Did Petraeus Know About Benghazi?

General Petraeus (photo source unknown)
Nov. 16, 2012 - Updated - A stunning report by Fox News on Halloween indicates that former CIA Director David Petraeus may be linked to the deadly terrorist attack of the the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012.

Petreaus testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in Washington, D.C. today. The hearing centered on the Benghazi attack, which killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff.

Petraeus's testimony today seemed to confirm suspicions that the Obama Administration either tried to cover up the real reason behind the Benghazi attack or is so incompetent that it did not understand what happened. 

Petraeus told the Senate Intelligence Committee that "there were extremists in the group" that launched the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, "describing them as affiliates of al Qaeda and other groups, said Representative C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee," reports Reuters today. The Reuters report notes that lawmakers in the hearing said that  "Petraeus told Congress on Friday that he and the spy agency had sought to make clear from the outset that September's deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, involved an al Qaeda affiliate."

Benghazi is Obama's Watergate
Petraeus's testimony today indicated that the CIA "believed the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya was a terrorist attack from the beginning," reports The Hill. Even more damning for the Obama Administration is what Fox News reports today. Fox summed it up in this headline: "I’d Say Someone in Obama Admin Removed Al Qaeda from CIA Benghazi Talking Points."

The Benghazi issue will not fade away with a few Congressional hearings. In fact, Senate Republicans are seeking a “Watergate-style” special joint committee to investigate the Obama Administration’s failure to prevent American deaths at the U.S. Consulate. Human Events reports that Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) "is advocating another tactic employed in the famous scandal: the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate." Folks, this is the big time and to put it in perspective, the Watergate scandal was merely a break in and theft of files, in which nobody was killed. "Benghazi-gate" is is far worse. It is either a domino avalanche of incompetence with a coverup, or intentional, criminal negligence with a coverup.

Petraeus also testified today that he has no idea who altered the CIA’s talking points on Benghazi, notes PowerLine Blog. "Petraeus also did not know what information was provided to Susan Rice, or that she was going to appear on talk shows to discuss Benghazi."

The Oct. 31 Fox News report noted that early briefings about the attack implicated Al Qaeda, before the Obama Administration insisted publicly that the attack was not a terrorist action and was inspired by protests against an anti-Mohammed video.

"Two days after the deadly Libya terror attack," reported Fox, "representatives of the FBI and National Counterterrorism Center gave Capitol Hill briefings in which they said the evidence supported an Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda-affiliated attack, Fox News has learned. The description of the attack by those in the Sept. 13 briefings stands in stark contrast to the now controversial briefing on Capitol Hill by CIA Director David Petraeus the following day — and raises even more questions about why Petraeus described the attack as tied to a demonstration."

Fox News said it learned that Petraeus stuck tightly to the story that the attack was just a spontaneous protest gone bad and not a well planned terrorist operation. Fox News also said that they were "told that Petraeus was 'absolute' in his description with few, if any, caveats." Blogger Pat Dollard has some very interesting commentary about this story.

A Nov. 12 report at Fox News said that "within 24 hours of the Tuesday September 11 attack on our consulate, the CIA Libyan Chief of Station "cabled CIA headquarters that it was carried out by militants and not in reaction to an obscure American-made internet video that criticized Islam’s Prophet Muhammed." But, says that Fox report, "on Friday, September 14, Director of Central Intelligence, General David Petraeus, ignored his chief boot-on-the-ground and briefed the House Intelligence Committee, as described by Vice-Chairman Ruppensberger (D-Md), that the attack was "spontaneous'."

Petraeus and Broadwell: BFFs no more
Why would Petraeus, Director of Central Intelligence, ignore the reports of those who were at the scene of the attack, those who knew best what really happened? Why did Petraeus promote the "spontaneous protest" version that the Obama Administration wanted so desperately for American voters to believe?

That same Fox report, on Nov. 12, opined that "Something is terribly amiss for those of us steeped in federal criminal law, national security, and Congressional protocol. We have been told that the president knew nothing of the [Petraeus scandal with Paula Broadwell] investigation until post-election Wednesday."

Nothing could be more true. Not only is something amiss, the whole thing is a mess. The FBI sat on the investigation for weeks. It is hard to fathom that the FBI did not pass their knowledge of a Petraeus extramarital affair up the chain to the White House. If they did, it surely would have been shared with Obama. Either the FBI or the White House staff is incompetent, or both are, or Obama was told and he is lying about it.