President Barack Obama’s deputies modified an intelligence report provided by former CIA Director David Petraeus to obscure the jihadis’ role in the Benghazi consulate attack on Sept. 11, 2012, according to House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Rep. Peter King.
The critical question is “who changed these talking points and why,” King said on Nov. 16, shortly after attending a closed-door hearing where Petraeus explained his actions in the days after the surprise attack on the consulate and CIA building in Libya.
The attack, which was launched just two months before the presidential election, killed four Americans, including Obama’s ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.
It also forcefully highlighted major problems in Obama’s Muslim-outreach strategy.
Petraeus’ initial report included a specific mention of an al-Qaida role in the attacks, but that mention was removed when the CIA’s report was edited by officials at the Department of Justice, the Department State, the White House’s National Security Council, and various agency public-affairs offices, King said.
Petraeus’ initial CIA report “specifically mentioned al-Qieda, and that al-Qaida was involved in the attack,” King told Fox.
“Somewhere along that line, that was taken out… someone in the administration had to have taken it out,” he said, adding that Congress needs to create a special committee to find out what happened.
That “really changed the whole tone” of the CIA report, he said.
The jihad attack followed months of tension, and periodic attacks, against British and U.S. targets in Benghazi by jihadi groups.
The climatic Sept. 11, 2012 assaults were a success for the jihadis, because U.S. officials pulled out of the city, leaving the jihadis with more ability to pressure the weak Libyan government in the country’s capital city.
In the days after the attack, Obama’s deputies downplayed evidence of a deliberate jihadi attack, and instead blamed the attack on a “natural” popular protest against a California-made video that is critical of Islam’s prophet, Mohammad.
On Sept. 16, for example, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on five Sunday talk-shows to argue that the attacks were entangled in a protests against the anti-Islam video.
Obama even spoke out against the video during his Sept. 25 speech at the United Nations General Assembly. “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” the U.S. president declared, echoing Islamists’ calls for worldwide laws against blasphemy of Islam.
In November, a California judge sentenced the video-maker to a year in jail for various probation violations.