Benghazi Senate Hearings: David Petraeus Must Testify on Thursday, Else We Lose Key Intel


As more allegations and sordid details come to light about the affair between former director of the CIA David Petraus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell, Petraus's testimony on the Benghazi attacks remains postponed. The Senate Intelligence Committee will be holding a closed hearing on Thursday, November 15, regarding the September 11 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including the Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Wittnessess will include the Director of National Intelligence, the National Counterterrorism Center Director, and the Deputy Director of the FBI, among others. This star-studded cast also included David Petraeus, until his abrupt resignation last Friday. In the midst of the scandal, Petraus was removed from the list of witnesses for Thursday's hearings. He will be replaced by the acting CIA Director, Mike Morell

Some argue that it is not necessary for Petraus to testify. As the acting director, Morell now bears the responsibility for representing the actions of the CIA before Congress. While it would have been unreasonable to demand that Petraus testify this week, given the furor surrounding his resignation, he should not be allowed to fade into obscurity as irrelevant to the case.These hearings are, in part, attempting to piece together who made the disasterous decisions that led to the ransacking of a U.S. embassy in Libya. For that, we need the testimony from everyone who had a part in the choices made that night.

As recriminations circulate about the attack, the piecemeal scraps of information are quickly becoming a gordian knot of who-knew-what, and when. The upcoming hearings are critical because almost every stage of the Benghazi attack is under question. Though the U.S. personnel in Benghazi were assumed to be on a diplomatic mission at the time of the attack, reports now indicate that it may have been a component of a CIA build-up in an attempt to respond to a refortification of Al-Quada forces in the area.

Benghazi leaves us with four facts and two questions. The four facts are the four lost Americans who, for whatever reason, never received the help they deserved that night. The two questions are, first, is the administration's handling of the antiterrorism situation in general and the Libya situation in particular incompetant? And, were the American people lied to about the attacks on American terriorty for reasons of national security, or political gain? 

There is strong indication that both questions can be answered in the affirmative. The overwhelming American power stationed only a short distance away was never sent to the belaguered Amerian forces. While the assertion that the Americans expected the help to come from Libyan soldiers who fell through is accurate, it begs the question of why the Americans were left to depend on unreliable allies in their extremity. Rep. Darrell Issa asserts that the administration is feeling the pressure to defend its anti-terrorism policy as a success. 

The Foreign Affairs Committee is also conducting hearings that are expected to last for at least several more weeks. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton declined the request to serve as a witness.