TODAY   |  November 17, 2012

Lawmakers irked by official's conflicting accounts on Benghazi

Critics of the administration are demanding answers after former CIA director David Petraeus told lawmakers that terrorism was suspected early on in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, while UN ambassador Susan Rice called the incident a spontaneous attack.

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>>> we are learning more today about september's deadly consulate attack in benghazi , libya. former cia director david petraeus still reeling from the revelation of his affair, testified on capitol hill behind closed doors . kristin welker is in our washington bureau with more. good morning.

>> reporter: general petraeus snuck in and out of the capital on friday, but his testimony is still making waves with lawmakers. some say it only raises more questions about the way the administration landled the benghazi attack. due to the firestorm surrounding his life, reporters were blocked to spare him embarrassment. lawmakers say petraeus testified that the cia immediately believed that terrorists were involved in the september 11 benghazi assault. that is a stark contrast to the account u.n. ambassador susan rice offered in the days after the incident when she said that what happened in benghazi was a spontaneous attack. some lawmakers said the discrepancy was the result of evolving intelligence , while others noted the cia's initial assessment of terrorism was classified and therefore not included in the talking points rice was given. critics of the administration are demanding more answers while others are defending ambassador rice.

>> the original talking points were much more specific about al qaeda involvements, and yet final ones just said indications of extremists.

>> i don't think she should be pilloried for this. she did what i would have done or anything else would have done.

>> reporter: now those who were in the room said petraeus testified that his resignation had nothing to do with the consulate attacks, saying it was solely due to the fallout from his admitted extramarital affair . he also apologized for his behavior.