Our View: Man on a wire
Posted: November 15, 2012
So former CIA chief David Petraeus will testify before Congress on the Benghazi attack, after all. Prepare the high wire, sans safety net. The former general is no longer of use to this administration. His human frailties already exposed, he’s out there alone.
Why is his testimony important? Largely because of earlier statements made two days after terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and killed four Americans, including our Libyan ambassador. Two months ago, Mr. Petraeus strongly suggested that a mob protesting an anti-Islamic video, and not a terrorist cadre, had assaulted the consulate. In other words, he took the administration line.
Much has happened since then to alter our view of the attack — and of Mr. Petraeus, whose adulterous dalliance with his biographer prompted his abrupt resignation from the CIA post.
As columnist Charles Krauthammer has observed, America’s fascination with Mr. Petraeus’ downfall would be sheer voyeurism if not for that Sept. 13 testimony. Was he a compromised man then, obliged to spout the administration line out of fear his impropriety might be exposed? After all, his story then stands in stark contrast with what we now know about the attack.
Answers may be forthcoming when Mr. Petraeus steps out on that high wire.