WASHINGTON David Petraeus, in his first congressional testimony since resigning as CIA director over an extramarital affair, began fielding questions Friday from lawmakers about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya.
Petraeus is under investigation by the agency for possible wrongdoing, though that’s not the subject of the private hearings before the House and Senate intelligence committees. The attack in Benghazi, which killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, created a political firestorm; Republicans claim the White House misled the public on what led to the violence.
Lawmakers spent hours Thursday interviewing top intelligence and national security officials in trying to determine what intelligence agencies knew before, during and after the attack. They viewed security video from the consulate and surveillance footage by an unarmed CIA Predator drone that showed events in real time.
Petraeus started with the House committee, which met in a secure room several floors below the main area of the Capitol Visitors Center where tourists gather when they are visiting Congress.
“Director Petraeus went to Tripoli and interviewed many of the people involved,” said the head of the Senate committee, California Democrat Dianne Feinstein.
Added Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.: ““I’d like to get his sense of why it took as long as it did to get more accurate assessments of what took place in Benghazi.”