Petraeus: I Always Thought It Was a Terrorist Attack

Ex-CIA director gives his side of the story on Benghazi consulate attack

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 16, 2012 10:30 AM CST

(Newser) – David Petraeus believed from day one that the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi was a terrorist attack, he told lawmakers at a much-hyped closed-door hearing today, according to lawmakers in attendance. Petraeus said that the CIA talking points written immediately after the incident referred to it as a terrorist attack, but that other federal agencies altered them, lawmakers tell the AP. "He was definitely fully aware of what was going on," Rep. Peter King says.

He also confirmed that after the incident he "went to Tripoli and interviewed many of the people involved," Dianne Feinstein said. Petraeus was secreted into the Capitol today through underground tunnels to spare him a scandal-driven media onslaught. His remarks never touched on the sex scandal swirling around him. When asked if the scandal would affect his testimony, Petraeus assured legislators it wouldn't, and, according to King, he seemed unfazed by the week's events.

A folding room divider blocks a door down a corridor on Capitol Hill where the Senate Intelligence Committee is holding a closed-door hearing with David Petraeus, Nov. 16, 2012.
A folding room divider blocks a door down a corridor on Capitol Hill where the Senate Intelligence Committee is holding a closed-door hearing with David Petraeus, Nov. 16, 2012.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
In this June 23, 2011 file photo, then-CIA Director-desigate Gen. David Petraeus testifies on Capitol Hill.
In this June 23, 2011 file photo, then-CIA Director-desigate Gen. David Petraeus testifies on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)
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