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Petraeus testifies that CIA always suspected terrorists in Libya attack

Ex-CIA director David Petraeus told lawmakers that the CIA's draft talking points named specific  terrorist groups.  But Petraeus said some federal agency changed it to "extremists."

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Ex-CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus testified Friday in Washington about what the CIA knew immediately after the attack on the US consulate in Libya. on Capitol Hill in Washington. Petraeus is shown here at another Congressional hearing last year in Washington.

(AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

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Ex-CIA Director David Petraeus told lawmakers during private hearings Friday that he believed all along that the deadly attack on the US consulate in Libya was a terrorist strike, even though that wasn't how the Obama administration initially described it publicly.

The retired four-star general addressed the House and Senate intelligence committees as questions continue to persist over what the Obama administration knew in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks and why their public description did not match intelligence agencies' assessments.

Lawmakers said Petraeus testified that the CIA's draft talking points written in response to the assault on the diplomat post in Benghazi that killed four Americans referred to it as a terrorist attack. But Petraeus told the lawmakers that reference was removed from the final version, although he wasn't sure which federal agency took out the reference.

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Democrats said Petraeus made it clear the change was not made for political reasons during President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.

"The 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."

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