Former CIA Director David Petraeus has told a congressional panel that he believed from the onset that the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was the work of terrorists.
Lawmakers say the former CIA chief made the comments during Friday’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, regarding the deadly attack that resulted in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
After the briefing, Republican Congressman Peter King told reporters that he had a different “recollection” of events. King, the House Homeland Security chairman, said he did not recall Petraeus being so certain of terrorist involvement September 14 when he briefed a House committee on the Benghazi matter.
Speaking about the attack the day after it happened, President Obama said “no acts of terror” would shake American resolve.
Many lawmakers have voiced concern over whether there was adequate security at the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and if the Obama administration later attempted to hide information to avoid any embarrassment before the November 6 presidential election.
Some Republican lawmakers have been especially critical of comments made by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice. Five days after the incident, Rice said it appeared the attack was caused by a spontaneous protest.
President Obama and some Democratic lawmakers have defended Rice, saying there was no deliberate attempt to put forth misleading information.
Petraeus resigned as CIA chief last week, after an FBI investigation uncovered his extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.
Democratic Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger told reporters there was a “mention” of the affair during Petraeus’ testimony before the House panel. Ruppersberger said the former CIA chief told lawmakers that anything that occurred with respect to his personal situation had nothing to do with the Benghazi attack. He said he did not resign to try to avoid testifying about the incident in Libya.
Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that he felt “very secure” that there was no national security breach in the Petraeus scandal.