(WASHINGTON) — Former CIA director David Petraeus slipped into a closed door hearing before the House Intelligence Committee Friday morning to testify about what he learned first-hand about the Sept. 11 attack in the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Petraeus, who traveled to Libya and carried out his own investigation after the Benghazi attack, spoke and was questioned by the committee for about 90 minutes, committee chairman Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said after the hearing.
King said the sex scandal that forced Petraeus to abruptly resign was not a factor in the hearing, which was confined to the terrorist attack that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
“Ten seconds into it, that was off to the side,” King said, referring to the scandal.
The congressman said that what Petraeus told the panel “will all be classified other than it was clear it did not arise from a demonstration and it was a terror attack.”
King said that Petraeus maintained that he said early on that the ambush was a result of terrorism. King added that he remembered Petraeus and the Obama administration downplaying the role of an al Qaeda affiliate in the attack in the days after Stevens was killed. The administration initially said the attack grew out of a spontaneous demonstration against a video that lampooned the Prophet Mohammed.
“That is not my recollection” of what Petraeus initially said, King said on Friday.
The congressman suggested that pressing Petraeus was awkward at times. “It’s a lot easier when you dislike the guy,” King said.
Petraeus resigned last week after disclosing an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.
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