Embassy Attacks

Petraeus Shifts His Benghazi Story

He's not really backing the administration's version of events


Former CIA Director David Petraeus knew all along that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked by al-Qaida-aligned terrorists this past September. Only he wasn't so certain when he first briefed Congress on the Libyan disaster, just days after it occurred. And even the most Petraeus-friendly legislators find it odd that the former CIA director is retroactively editing his testimony.

Petraeus emerged from his compounding week-long fall from grace to testify behind closed doors to the House and Senate intelligence committees about what the CIA knew about the hours-long assault as it unfolded. The overarching and highly politicized question hanging over Benghazi is whether the Obama administration misrepresented the disaster by initially pointing to an anti-Islam video as the catalyst, rather than the complex terrorist attack that actually occurred. What's begun to leak out of the Petraeus hearings is this: the former four-star general and spymaster was convinced from jump that this was the work of terrorists.

In his Friday testimony. Petraeus claimed "he thought all along that he made it clear there was terrorist involvement," according to Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.). "That was not my recollection."