General David Petraeus back in town to give evidence on Benghazi attack
Ousted CIA head appears to contradict earlier testimony that YouTube video was the catalyst
General David Petraeus has claimed that he always believed the US ambassador to Libya was murdered during a "terrorist attack", even though the Obama administration initially described the killing differently.
In closed-doors testimony on Capitol Hill, the ousted head of the CIA reportedly told lawmakers that his agency's draft "talking points" on the 11 September Benghazi tragedy were edited by other security agencies before being shared with the White House.
The claim, made during his first trip to Washington since resigning over an extra-marital affair, will give fresh legs to conspiracy theories already swirling around the death of the Ambassador, Christopher Stevens. It also appears to contradict the evidence that General Petraeus gave at a hearing in September.
Peter King, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said yesterday: "He now clearly believes that [the murder] did not arise out of a demonstration, that it was not spontaneous and it was clear terrorist involvement."
When asked by a reporter if General Petraeus had shed any light on who was responsible for altering the "talking points" used to brief the US public on the attack, Mr King responded that the General "just said it goes through a process, an inter-agency process and when they come back that had been taken out".
Republicans have long accused the Obama administration of attempting to deliberately and wrongly blame the killing of Mr Stevens and three colleagues on a spontaneous backlash against a US-made YouTube video which insulted the Prophet Mohammed.
They believe the alleged cover-up was part of an attempt to prevent negative coverage of the President's foreign policy in the run-up to the election. However General Petraeus does not appear to believe the White House had any role in editing or watering down the "talking points".
"There was an interagency process to draft it, not a political process," said Adam Schiff, a Democrat who attended yesterday's hearing. "They came up with the best assessment without compromising classified information or source or methods. So changes were made to protect classified information.
"The General was adamant there was no politicisation of the process, no White House interference or political agenda," Mr Schiff added. "He completely debunked that idea."
Yesterday's testimony brought a raucous media circus to Capitol Hill. But reporters hoping for a glimpse of General Petraeus were disappointed. He was whisked into the meeting room through a network of underground tunnels that are out of bounds to photographers and TV crews.
He also did not address the scandal that has developed since his resignation last Friday, except to say that the Benghazi attack had nothing to do with his decision to leave.
In a telephone interview on on Thursday General Petraeus told CNN he had chosen to resign from his CIA post because he had engaged in "something dishonourable".
Video: It is the type of thing no parent wants to hear
- 1 Exodus Gods and Kings casting controversy: Ridley Scott would never cast 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he'd killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler after death of Phil Hughes
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, GAME, PC World and Argos
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
£1000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Doing more admin than selling? ...
£30000 per annum + £60,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Basingstoke, Brighton,...
£33000 - £36000 per annum + Car+Laptop+Phone: Langley James : Field Support En...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's most progressive and innovativ...