Rep. King: Petraeus ‘Clearly Believed’ Benghazi Attack 'Did Not Arise Out of a Demonstration’

November 16, 2012 - 10:16 AM

Libya Consulate Attack

In this Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 file photo, a Libyan man investigates the inside of the U.S. Consulate after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)

(CNSNews.com) – The CIA knew there was “al Qaida involvement" in the Benghazi attack from the beginning, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) told reporters Friday, following a closed-door session on Capitol Hill with Gen. David Petraeus, the former CIA director.

But King said that’s not what he remembers Petraeus saying when Petraeus briefed congressional officials on September 14, three days after the attack.

At that time, the Obama White House was still insisting that the attack grew out of a spontaneous protest against an obscure anti-Islam video. Fox News reported that Petraeus, on the 14th, linked the attack to a protest that grew out of control.

According to King on Friday, “He (Petraeus) was saying there were many streams of intelligence, but he also stated that he thought all along he made it clear that there was significant terrorist involvement. And that is not my recollection of what he told us on September 14.”

King noted that some of the information Petraeus gave the House intelligence committee on Friday was classified, but he did tell reporters that Petraeus “clearly believed” the Benghazi attack “did not arise out of a demonstration, it was not spontaneous, and it was clear terrorist involvement.”

“He said that straight up?” a reporter asked.

“Yes,” King replied.

King said the investigation is “ongoing, and  his committee wants to hear from the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and “also people at the White House, to see if anyone at the White House changed the talking points” provided by the CIA.

Also on Friday, the House intelligence committee’s ranking member, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) said the attack on the consulate in Benghazi was a lot different than the second incident at the CIA annex.

There was looting at the consulate -- no command and control, Ruppersbergeer said. But he said the attack on the annex was more focused, organized and premeditated.

King said his committee questioned Petraeus for about an hour and a half, following Petraeus’ 20 minute opening statement. Petraeus was not testifying under oath.