Republican Congressman Peter King just exited the closed-door hearing with David Petraeus to update the media, and his description of the ex-CIA Chief’s testimony contained more than one bombshell.
For starters, King said Petraeus told them that the CIA talking points meant for U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s Sept. 16 round robin of five Sunday network news shows, originally contained the information that there was evidence al-Qaeda elements were involved in the attack. These talking points were then altered through “an inter-agency process.”
“The original talking points were much more specific about al-Qaeda involvement and yet the finals ones just said’ indications of extremists.’ It said ‘indicate’ even though there was clearly evidence at the CIA that there was al-Qaeda involvement.”
When asked by a reporter if Petraeus knew “why” the talking points were change, King responded with, “They just said it goes through a process, an inter-agency process and when they come back that had been taken out.”
Obviously, what we now know is that in their final format, the talking points in question focused exclusively on the false idea that the September 11 anniversary attack was motivated by a spontaneous protest over an anti-Muslim video.
King also said that the testimony from Petraeus today was much different than his original testimony on Sept. 14. Today, Petraeus told the committee that he knew “almost immediately” that the attack was the work of an al-Qaeda affiliated militia called Ansar al Sharia and that the “overwhelming amount of evidence said this was a terror attack.” According to numerous reports, in his original testimony, Petraeus focused almost exclusively on the YouTube video as the prime motivator for the attack.
So, at least according to Rep. King, we have Petraeus amending and/or contradicting his original testimony, and the news that somewhere in-between the CIA and Susan Rice, removed from the CIA talking points that insisted there was “no evidence” of a premeditated terrorist attack was the information about Ansar al Sharia.
This leaves us with two new and very important questions that must be answered:
If he did, why did Petraeus change his testimony?
Who changed the CIA talking points, removing the evidence an al-Qaeda element was likely involved in the murder of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans?
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC
***UPDATE: After the video was made available of King’s comments, for accuracy purposes, this post was updated with more precise quotes from the Congressman.