Petraeus Testimony Doesn't Resolve Questions

He provided fodder for both Republicans and Democrats

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 16, 2012 4:58 PM CST

(Newser) – David Petraeus finished his testimony on Capitol Hill about what transpired in Benghazi, but don't expect an end to the controversy:

  • "His appearance actually seemed to provide both Democrats and Republicans with additional evidence to bolster their own narratives of the attacks and their aftermath," says the Wall Street Journal up high in its coverage.
  • Petraeus said he believed from the start that the attack on the consulate was a terrorist attack by al-Qaeda affiliates. The New York Times gets to the heart of the confusion: The CIA "and other intelligence agencies prepared unclassified talking points on the attack for members of Congress, and in them the references to Qaeda affiliates were changed to the less specific 'extremists' to avoid revealing to insurgents that American intelligence agencies were eavesdropping on their electronic communications."

  • Rep. Jim Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat, elaborates on the point: "There may have been confusion with the unclassified talking points," Politico quotes him as saying. "Perhaps there's greater clarity in the classified talking points," especially in regard to "different understanding of words—for example, 'extremist' versus 'terrorist.'"
  • And Republican Peter King: “The fact is, the reference to al-Qaeda was taken out somewhere along the line by someone outside the intelligence community. We need to find out who did it and why.”
  • Dianne Feinstein: “We’re learning a lot, but we have in my opinion not come to a point where we can draw a firm conclusion as to exactly what happened," she says in the Washington Post.
One thing that was clear: Petraeus expressed regret at the start of his appearances for his affair, but lawmakers had no interest in questioning him about it, reports AP.

Former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, right, followed by security agents, enters his home in Arlington, Va., Friday after testifying on Capitol Hill.
Former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, right, followed by security agents, enters his home in Arlington, Va., Friday after testifying on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
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