(Fox News) Former CIA Director David Petraeus stoked the controversy over the Obama administration’s handling of the Libya terror attack, testifying Friday that references to “Al Qaeda involvement” were stripped from his agency’s original talking points — while other intelligence officials were unable to say who changed the memo, according to a top lawmaker who was briefed.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told Fox News that intelligence officials who testified in a closed-door hearing a day earlier, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Acting CIA Director Mike Morell, said they did not know who changed the talking points. He said they went out to multiple departments, including the State Department, National Security Council, Justice Department and White House.
“To me the question right now is who changed those talking points and why. … I’d say it was somebody in the administration had to have taken it out,” King told Fox News. “That, to me, has to be pursued.”
The NY Times attempts to find a position to protect the Obama administration
David H. Petraeus, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, told lawmakers on Friday that classified intelligence reports revealed that the deadly assault on the American diplomatic mission in Libya was a terrorist attack, but that the administration refrained from saying it suspected that the perpetrators of the attack were Al Qaeda affiliates and sympathizers to avoid tipping off the groups.
Mr. Petraeus, who resigned last week after admitting to an extramarital affair, said the names of groups suspected in the attack — including Al Qaeda’s franchise in North Africa and a local Libyan group, Ansar al-Shariah — were removed from the public explanation of the attack immediately after the assault to avoiding alerting the militants that American intelligence and law enforcement agencies were tracking them, lawmakers said.
The Times finally gets around to mentioning that it wasn’t the CIA who removed references to Islamic terrorists in the circulated talking points memo.
But, let’s go back to Peter King’s comment. With all due respect, know who changed the talking points, and why, is the third most important issue regarding the Benghazi affair. Second most important is what happened in the run-up to the attack. Most important would be what happened during the attack which resulted in the deaths of 4 Americans.
- Prior to the 9/11 attack, the media was reporting that Benghazi was becoming increasingly more dangerous to Westerners, with the threats coming from Islamic terror groups. The British were pulling their people out of the area after multiple attacks, including an assassination attempt of their ambassador. There were multiple attacks against the US Consulate dating back to April. Multiple Islamic terrorist groups were agitating and threatening attacks. Ambassador Stevens and others were screaming for more security, and were told to stop asking. Who told them to stop asking? Who refused to increase security? Why were all the warning signs ignored?
- And then we come to the actual attack: what was Stevens doing in the area? More importantly, why was no help sent? Did anyone ask the Libyan government for permission to enter the country to rescue our people? Who told the ex-Navy SEALs to stand down multiple times? Why were no military assets sent to rescue them? We could have had military jets over Benghazi within an hour or two. We could have certainly had assets fly in from our naval vessels who patrol the Mediterranean, some of which were off the coast of Libya. These ships carry special operator units, and could have been there on helicopter or Osprey. What about attack helicopters from the Marine assault ship in the Med.? Over the 7 hours of fighting, why was there no attempt to rescue them? That is the primary question.
Perhaps the information was discussed during the closed door hearing. Perhaps they will eventually tell us. What they are focusing on now is important, as it shows the Obama administration lying to the American people, and many would like to know “why.” I want to know why our people were left to die.