Guy Benson
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CNN landed the scoop regarding what former CIA Director and four star general David Petraeus is telling members of Congress behind closed doors today:
 

CNN reports that former Central Intelligence Agency director David H. Petraeus wants to tell Congress that he knew “almost immediately” that the attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi was perpetrated by terrorists. According to the source, reports attributing the attack to protests surrounding an anti-Islam video and protests in Cairo were not disproven until after Petraeus made his initial report to Congress. Despite that, according to CNN, Petraeus had separate talking points from Rice’s and that her talking points came from somewhere else in the administration.  


The Washington Free Beacon has more:
 

House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Peter King (R., N.Y.) said Friday that the original talking points provided by the Central Intelligence Agency were different from the final talking points put out by the administration, after testimony from former CIA director David H. Petraeus. King said Petraeus testified that the original talking points produced by the CIA discussed al Qaeda involvement in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi that left four Americans dead. “The original talking points were much more specific about al Qaeda involvement, and the final ones just said indications of extremists,” King said. “(It) said indicate event though there was clearly evidence to the CIA that there was al Qaeda involvement.” “(Petraeus) said it went through a long process, through many agencies, through the Department of Justice, through the State Department, and no one knows, yet, exactly who came up with the final version of the talking points,” King said. ”Other than to say that the original talking points prepared by the CIA were different from the ones that were finally put out.”  


A few points: (1) This version of events aligns with the preponderance of existing evidence, which has already indicated that top US officials knew about the terrorism connection within at least 24 hours of the attack.  Subsequent reporting has revealed that a more precise intel timeline closes that window to just two hours, and that Benghazi consulate staff sent urgent cables warning of a brewing raid in the hours immediately preceding the attack.

(2) These assertions belie liberals' excuse-making on Susan Rice's behalf and expose the president's faux indignation during his first post-election press conference as contrived and phony.  Five days after the attack, Rice was deployed on every major Sunday morning news program to recite talking points that directly contradicted the immediate (and fairly obvious) intelligence.  According to Petraeus' testimony, the initial information provided by the US intelligence community established a clear link to terrorism, yet Rice told the American people that the administration had no reason to believe the raid was premeditated, adding that the violence grew out of "spontaneous" protests related to an irrelevant online video.  Obama passionately stated this week that Rice didn't have any special knowledge of what actually transpired in Benghazi before she appeared on those shows (which begs the question of why she, of all people, was designated as the White House's point person).  She was speaking at the direction of the White House, he explained.  If this is true, someone at the White House radically revised her talking points.  Who did this, and why?  And even if Rice was unwittingly repeating a distorted version of events, why did the broader administration play down (or outright dismiss) the pre-planned terrorism reality for weeks, while playing up the red herring YouTube clip?  Remember, Hillary Clinton denounced this video as she stood beside the caskets of the fallen, and Obama condemned it numerous times in his United Nations speech.

(3) Just to recap, our people in Benghazi strongly requested additional security in the months preceding the attack, citing deteriorating conditions on the ground (ten separate Islamist militia groups were operating in the city) due to a major uptick in threats and actual violence.  They were denied by Washington.  In the hours immediately preceding the raid, they warned that serious trouble was afoot.  When the ambush finally materialized, they begged for help.  US officials watched the ensuing horror play out on a live video stream for seven hours.  Help never came.  Four Americans, including our ambassador, were murdered.  Obama has since stated that he ordered that action be taken to secure our personnel, though there isn't any evidence that confirms this somewhat hazy claim.  Did he actually deliver this order?  If so, did it go unheeded, and why?  Where was the president as these life-and-death calls were being made in real time?  (Answer: Most likely asleep, resting up for a big campaign stop the next day).  Given the administration's reckless series of decisions leading up to attack, its chaotic and woefully inadequate response during the attack, and its evolving misdirection and scape-goating in its wake, is it any surprise that they're now lashing out at critics for "politicizing" this bloody debacle of their own making?  More than two months later, they're still hiding behind the "ongoing investigation," in which the president is apparently not participating.  No one is responsible, except for those awful Republicans who keep asking questions on behalf of the dead.  How rude.  I'll leave you with left-leaning columnist Kirsten Powers upbraiding Obama for his paternalistic preening aimed at "protecting" Susan Rice, who's rumored to be in line to succeed Clinton at State:
 

It's absurd and chauvinistic for Obama to talk about the woman he thinks should be Secretary of State of the United States as if she needs the big strong man to come to her defense because a couple of Senators are criticizing her. Believe it or not, Rice isn't the first potential Cabinet nominee to be opposed by members of Congress up on the Hill. Obama also left out the inconvenient detail that there is another senator who has Rice in the crosshairs: Sen. Kelly Ayotte. But perhaps a female Senator holding Rice accountable didn't sound menacing enough in the era of the "War on Women." But it gets much worse. As the president expressed outrage over the atrocity of members of Congress holding administration officials accountable, he said, "I'm happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador? Who had nothing to do with Benghazi?" Feast on those words for a second: The U.N. Ambassador had "nothing to do with Benghazi." At this point, the White House press corps should have flown into a frenzy, demanding to know why a person who had nothing to do with Benghazi was put on five Sunday talk shows as...the face of Benghazi...


But no such frenzy materialized, perhaps because some members of the press corps were contemplating how best to slobberingly congratulate the president on his re-election.  Take note, journalism students.  This is how it's done nowadays.

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Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography