CIA director David Petraeus countered FBI and National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) officials in labeling the Benghazi attack a spontaneous demonstration instead of a premeditated Al Qaeda attack.
According to reports, on Sept 13 the FBI and NCTC gave briefings on Capital Hill in which they indicated the Sept 11 attacks had been carried out by Al Qaeda or an “Al Qaeda-affiliated” group. The FBI and NCTC briefing was based on “intercepts that included individuals, believed to have participated in the attack, who were celebratory — as well as a claim of responsibility.”
But the next day, Sept 14, Petraeus went to Capital Hill and described the attack as something befitting a flash mob, “where the militants showed up spontaneously with RPGs.”
It was not premeditated (according to Petraeus).
As the “spontaneous attack” narrative fell apart in the days after Petraeus pushed it, lawmakers expressed anger, frustration, and disappointment that Petraeus did not avail himself of the very intelligence that suggested this was an Al Qaeda attack to begin with.