Today former CIA Director David Petraeus told lawmakers that the CIA believed the assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya was in fact a terrorist attack from the very beginning. This directly contradicts statements made by our ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Susan Rice, just five days following the attack on ABC’s This Week, as well as the President’s own vague statements following the attack. Now that it is known the CIA viewed the events that transpired as a terrorist attack and not a spontaneous outcry because of an offensive video, the question becomes who changed Dr. Rice’s original talking points and why? Included in his comments, Petraeus acknowledged that the original talking points created by the CIA had been changed prior to Dr. Rice’s interview.
It would seem that the administration would be satisfied with the Benghazi attacks being looked over and not further scrutinized, but thanks to the diligent work of Senators such as John McCain and Representatives like Peter King, the public is learning more about what transpired in Benghazi and the government’s response in the following days.
From the most recent statements made by Petraeus, one would wonder whether the original talking points were changed because of obvious political reasons with the president in a reelection campaign at the time. By acknowledging the Benghazi as a terrorist attack, the administration could have opened itself up to criticism on its foreign policy and hurt the President’s reelection chances. In my opinion, this knowledge could have made a significant difference in the way that the second and third debates were handled. Candy Crowley’s infamous interjection wouldn’t have had any significance and the tone of the foreign policy debate could have shifted dramatically in Governor Romney’s favor.
I understand that President Obama won reelection soundly, and I congratulate him on his win. I hope that during his second term he can bring the hope and change that he promised so many times when he ran in 2008. Ultimately I don’t believe that if these facts were known prior to Election Day they would have made a difference, because most people don’t follow foreign policy or worry about it as much as the state of the economy, healthcare, energy, or other domestic issues. Regardless of how you feel about foreign policy, Congress needs to know the truth about why these facts are only now being revealed and why they were originally concealed. We have to remain diligent to our posts around the world and ensuring the safety of our citizens that have dedicated their lives so that we remain safe at home.