Friday, November 16, 2012

Classified Petraeus Testimony: What We Learned (Part I)

By Mary Claire Kendall

So, WHAT we now know, according to leaks from General David Petraeus’ top-secret, classified testimony—only in Washington!—is that U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice’s talking points for her appearances on five news shows on Sunday, September 16, including Fox News SundayMeet the PressFace the Nation, This Week and State of the Union explaining what happened in Benghazi on 9/11, differed from what the CIA had provided. Indeed, General Petraeus made clear that he thought, from the outset of the attack on the consular affairs office in Benghazi, it was terrorism, pure and simplenot a spontaneous uprising over a video.

But, what we don’t know—what is more top-secret than Petraeus’ classified testimony—is WHO changed the Petraeus CIA talking points and report. Cong. Peter King believes the White House changed them.  As he told Fox News: “(These talking points) specifically mentioned al-Qaida, and that al-Qaida was involved in the attack. Somewhere along the line, that was taken out... someone in the administration had to have taken it out.” Echoing Senator John McCain, he called for a special congressional committee to investigate the matter. 

Of course, what we always knew is that the notion that the attack on the Benghazi consulate on 9/11 was a spontaneous demonstration is patently absurd. 

I will never forget the moment I heard Ambassador Rice spouting this nonsense shortly after 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 16—two months ago today—as I was driving downtown, turning onto Garfield just past the National Cathedral to join my friend Jeff for some much-needed R&R. It was a moment akin to JFK’s assassination that will forever stay seared in my memory.  I was aghast that the Administration actually thought they were going to get away with this preposterous claim.

Commonsense tells you when RPGs and mortars are being used—expertly so—that this is no spontaneous demonstration. Unless, by some amazing coincidence, all the spontaneous demonstrators just happened to have these tools of warfare in their houses—maybe under their bed ready to run out at the first news of an offensive video trailer—and every last one of these demonstrators happened to have perfectly mastered the use of these weapons, to boot!

Now, what we dont know is the WHY—why the Mickey Mouse explanation.

See also Classified Petraeus Testimony: What We Learned (Part II).

Mary Claire Kendall is a Washington-based writer. She writes a regular column for, most recently "Doolittle's Raiders And The Miracle That Saved Them."

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