As CIA Director, David Petraeus testified before the House Intel Committee in a closed hearing on Benghazi on September 14.
(Mistake #1: These hearings should have been open.)
A recap from a post of October 20 titled “What Did the CIA Know and When Did It Stop Knowing It”:
On September 14, ABC established that a bifurcated narrative was emerging from different wings of the administration. On the one hand, CIA Director David Petraeus was putting out the (non-existent) protest story; on the other hand, the Pentagon was already talking terrorist attack.
(Worth tucking away as background from an earlier Ignatius column is that the CIA Director “is also said to have pushed hard in Libya, rushing case officers there to work with the opposition” — a.k.a. al Qaeda.)
The attack that killed four Americans in the Libyan consulate began as a spontaneous protest against the film “The Innocence of Muslims,” but Islamic militants who may have links to Al Qaeda used the opportunity to launch an attack, CIA Director David Petreaus told the House Intelligence Committee today according to one lawmaker who attended a closed-door briefing.
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the House Intel committee, said Petraeus laid out “a chronological order exactly what we felt happened, how it happened, and where we’re going in the future.”
“In the Benghazi area, in the beginning we feel that it was spontaneous – the protest- because it went on for two or three hours, which is very relevant because if it was something that was planned, then they could have come and attacked right away,” Ruppersberger, D-Md., said following the hour-long briefing by Petraeus. “At this point it looks as if there was a spontaneous situation that occurred and that as a result of that, the extreme groups that were probably connected to al Qaeda took advantage of that situation and then the attack started.”
This is damningly concrete information to hang onto like an anchor now that Petraeus and his Democratic allies are trying to slip away on an oily re-interpretation of the September briefing.
Based on Ruppersberger’s on-the-record impressions of the closed-door Petraeus briefing on September 14 we know:
1) In a one-hour-briefing, Petraeus laid out for members in chronological order the what-happened, how-it-happened and where-we’re-going story.
2) The first thing that happened in this Petraeus chronology was a “spontaneous” protest in Benghazi that lasted “two to three hours.”