FORMER CIA director General David Petraeus told politicians in private yesterday he believed all along that the deadly attack on the US consulate in Libya was a terrorist strike, even though the administration initially described it as protests against an anti-Muslim video.
Gen Petraeus addressed intelligence committees in his first Capitol Hill testimony since resigning a week ago over an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.
The retired four-star general said he did not know who removed the reference to terrorism from the CIA’s draft of talking points on the Libya attack, Republican Peter King told reporters.
Gen Petraeus said references to militant groups Ansar al-Shariah and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb were replaced with the word “extremist” in the final draft, but he didn’t know which agency did that.
“The fact is, the reference to al-Qaeda was taken out somewhere along the line by someone outside the intelligence community,” Mr King said. “We need to find out who did it and why.”
Democrats said Gen Petraeus made it clear the change was not made for political reasons during president Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. “The general was adamant there was no politicisation of the process, no White House interference or political agenda,” said Adam Schiff.