We added a new top to this post at 12:40 p.m. ET to round up the latest developments.)
The White House did not insert politics into the process of determining what could be said about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in the days immediately afterward, former CIA Director David Petraeus told Congress this morning, according to lawmakers who were inside closed briefings today.
My comment: Which John McCain missed, because he went to the media to complain about this very subject.
Petraeus, a retired 4-star Army general, "was adamant there was no politicization of the process, no White House interference or political agenda," said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. "He completely debunked that idea."
In particular, lawmakers said, Petraeus offered testimony to support the view that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice did not deliberately mislead anyone.
Emerging from a Senate hearing with Petraeus, Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota said that what he heard from the former CIA director indicates that Rice relied on "unclassified talking points that the entire intelligence community had signed off on" when she spoke — and therefore does not deserve the criticism she's gotten from some Republicans.
Petraeus, the lawmakers said, said that he always believed the attack was a terrorist strike and that the CIA passed that analysis on to other agencies. That conclusion was not included in talking points drafted for Rice before Sept. 16 TV appearances she made, however. Schiff told reporters that Petraeus indicated "there was an interagency process to draft [the talking points], not a political process. ... They came up with the best assessment without compromising classified information or source or methods. So changes were made to protect classified information."
WASHINGTON -- Just four years ago, John McCain was the leader of the GOP. Today, he's the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, a perch from which the former fighter pilot is deeply engaged in the national conversation over war, terrorism and intelligence gathering.
But in January, the Arizona senator will lose his top-ranking committee seat due to term limits. The only ranking Republican spot available to him next session will be on the Indian Affairs Committee.
Unless, that is, the Senate creates a brand-new select committee. On Wednesday, McCain, flanked by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), proposed just that: a select committee with extensive authority to investigate the Benghazi, Libya, attack and the U.S. government's response.
The Republican most likely to hold the ranking spot on such a panel would be, of course, John McCain, giving the Arizona senator a new burst of relevance.
Following former CIA Director David Petraeus' testimony, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) confirmed that the CIA did in fact approve Susan Rice's talking points before her TV appearances on Sept. 16.
Now That Bufoon John McCain is all over insulting Rice who is more qualified than him and Sarah Palin combined. It's a shame that Arizona has to stick with this fool. He is OLD and has lost HIS MIND.He was asking for information, the information is provided what does he do? He skips the hearing (reason B'se there were no cameras) Really? This shows how bitter, ignorant, crazy, angry & small minded he has become. America this is the man who wanted to be President, what a shame.
LETTER FROM SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID TO SENATORS MCCAIN, GRAHAM, AYOTTE AND MCCONNELL
"I refuse to allow the Senate to be used as a venue for baseless partisan attacks… I am concerned that a Select Committee, as you propose, would duplicate and, ultimately, undermine the numerous investigations into the attack that are already proceeding in the Senate Committees of jurisdiction, and may serve to further politicize an issue that has already been manipulated by Members of both the House and Senate in service of partisan agendas."
"You already have the opportunity to engage more fully in the fulsome and ongoing investigations into the events in Benghazi currently being conducted by the Senate committees of jurisdiction. For instance, on Wednesday, Senator McCain failed to attend a classified briefing held by the Senate Homeland Security Committee on this very issue.