The CIA may have been one of the agencies referenced; if so, Petraeus must have known within 24 hours of Stevens' death that the attack was a premeditated terrorist attack. But an October 19 column in The Washington Post by David Ignatius reported that both Obama and Rice received "talking points prepared by the CIA three days after the attack, on September 15, stating that a blasphemy riot at the Benghazi consulate triggered the attack."
The Petraeus CIA provided inaccurate information about events on the ground to the Obama Administration, particularly to President Obama and United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice. Did they know it was inaccurate?
We have a report of the September 15 talking points memo from the CIA to the White House. We don't know any specific information offered by Petraeus to the White House. But we do know that Ambassador Rice's September 15 statement on three network news shows made her look either ignorant or complicit in an Administration cover-up. In a sense, Rice was the stalking horse for the notion that a "blasphemy" riot, like the one occurring in Egypt at the same time, was the kickoff for the attack in Benghazi.
From September 12 to the day of Rice's statement, the 15th, Administration officials were tentative about the riot in Libya. Rice's statement was the apogee of the blasphemous movie explanation. Rice paid dearly in the press. At that point, the White House quickly backed off the false thesis and pounded Romney for being so crass about a national tragedy.
It appears that Petraeus provided inaccurate information to the White House. He knew there was no blasphemy riot. When Rice took some serious criticism for her remarks, the general sat on his hands.
If the Petraeus CIA mislead or misinformed the White House or allowed that to happen, was it in the service of the Romney campaign and those clamoring for an attack on Iran?
We know that the Romney campaign very much needed an Obama foreign policy failure of major proportions for the debates. Romney made his awkward and inflammatory remarks on the attack the same day as the attack and deaths, September 11. Then his surrogates followed up at the end of September calling for the president to be "held accountable" for the attack and its outcomes. A Romney spokesman singled out Susan Rice for the worst criticism.
When the attacks on Rice failed to get the desired traction, Romney supporters showed up at Bob Woodward's house in late October. They brought an "intelligence insider" who had special information on Benghazi. Woodward wasn't impressed with the source and chose not to pursue the matter.
Petraeus knew or should have known that the White House was getting bad information; the talking points of September 15 provide evidence of this. Petraeus knew or should have known that this bad information compromised the ability of the commander in chief and his subordinates to respond to the situation. Why did he allow this to go on?
The answer to that question will be known if we ever find out the truth behind The Independent's report that "The CIA has come under intense scrutiny for providing the White House and other Administration officials with information that led them to say the Benghazi attack was a result of a film protest." CIA here means Petraeus and his crew. The FBI was investigating a lot more than sex with regards to General Petraeus.
Consider too Romney's behavior at the second presidential debate, held on October 16, when Romney tried to cross examine Obama on his (Obama's) initial response to the Benghazi incident.
ROMNEY: "You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror. It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you're saying?
OBAMA: "Please proceed governor.
ROMNEY: "I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.
Notice how quick Romney was to try to capitalize on what he perceived as Obama's failure to see the Benghazi attack as terrorism, almost as if he were invested in seeing Obama as a coddler of terrorists. It is reasonable to assume Romney knew in advance that the White House had been briefed with misleading information about the Benghazi attack. There is a strong likelihood that the Petraeus CIA knew the information was false. As a result, there is every reason to question who Petraeus was working for in this instance; citizens or the Romney campaign?