Yesterday, Dianne Feinstein threatened to subpoena the CIA over a trip report from David Petraeus that he allegedly wrote after a personal trip to Benghazi after the terrorist attack that killed four Americans. Today, ABC News reports that Petraeus’ visit to Libya was no mere observational tour. The then-Director of Central Intelligence conducted his own interviews with personnel on the ground in Libya in preparation for testimony that has now been cancelled:
In late October, Petraeus traveled to Libya to conduct his own review of the Benghazi attack that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
While in Tripoli, he personally questioned the CIA station chief and other CIA personnel who were in Benghazi on Sept. 11 when the attack occurred.
The Libya stop was part of a six nation trip to the region. Petraeus intended the review as a way to prepare for his upcoming testimony before Congress on Benghazi.
“He was looking forward to testifying,” a Petraeus friend told ABC News. “He wanted to be fully prepared.”
This makes the decision to withdraw Petraeus from the hearing even more curious. According to their source, Petraeus thinks that acting DCI Michael Morrell can testify to Petraeus’ findings and add more of his own, plus Petraeus wants to avoid a “media circus” after the revelation of his affair.
However, while that may be understandable, those reasons aren’t enough to deprive the committees of his personal perspectives. Petraeus has years of hands-on experience dealing with terrorist networks as a military commander. Morell has over 30 years’ experience in the CIA and can obviously give a good accounting of the intelligence, but doesn’t have Petraeus’ insight. Plus, after having personally conducted the reviews in Libya, Congress needs Petraeus to expand past whatever made it into his trip report — the very document that the CIA is now reluctant to share with Feinstein and other Congressional investigators.