“It was a combination of both. What General Petraeus basically said in the beginning was that this was spontaneous — but that there were extremists, there were terrorists, involved in this situation,” the agency quoted Ruppersberger as saying.
Petraeus, who resigned Nov. 9 because of a sex scandal, is scheduled to testify Friday about the Benghazi attack.
Another Democrat on the House intelligence committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), told reporters that he did not believe the intelligence community had politicized the information in provided on the attack.
“They gave us the best initial assessments, and those proved inaccurate, but they warned us those assessments were subject to change as they got more information,” he said, according to the Associated Press.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing Thursday featured a testy exchange between Republican and Democratic members over the matter.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) charged that “the president himself has intentionally misinformed — read that, lied — to the American people in the aftermath of this tragedy.” Now, he said, Obama “has the gall to float the name” of Rice as a possible nominee to replace Clinton as secretary of state. He described Rice as “the actual vehicle used to misinform the American people during this crisis.”
Rohrabacher told the committee: “The arrogance and dishonesty reflected in all of this is a little bit breathtaking, and it’s about time that the president of the United States decided to to level with the American people.... Let’s not stonewall this issue and cover up mistakes, as appears to be happening today.”
That brought a strong retort from Rep. Gary L. Ackerman (D-N.Y.), who accused Republicans of hypocrisy in cutting administration requests for security funding and then making political hay out of the inevitable results.
The administration “requested for worldwide security $440 million more than you guys wanted to provide,” Ackerman angrily told committee Republicans. “A quarter of a billion dollars in security upgrades that you refused to make in this committee, and then you have the audacity to come here and say why wasn’t the protection of these people provided for. And the answer is because you damn didn’t provide it.”
Ackerman continued: “You reduced what the administration asked for to protect these people. And the answer to the question, how do you protect these people, [is] it costs money, believe it or not.”