(CNN) – Despite his resignation on Friday citing an extramarital affair, former CIA Director David Petraeus should not back out of plans to testify on the recent attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, a high-ranking House member said Friday on CNN.
Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Peter King, who is also a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration's handling of the September 11, 2012, attacks in Libya that killed four Americans including diplomat Chris Stevens.
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In September, King, R-New York, called for the resignation of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, describing her characterization of the attack as misleading.
King said on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" that Petraeus is "an absolutely essential witness, maybe more than anybody else."
"David Petraeus testifying has nothing to do with whether or not he's still the CIA director, and I don't see how the CIA can say he's not going to testify," King said.
"I think his testimony is certainly valuable, it's certainly necessary," King continued. "He was at the center of this and he has answers that only he has."
If Petraeus does not testify as originally scheduled on Thursday, King said, "It should be very soon after that."
In October, King told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien that the Obama administration, at least initially, did “not tell the truth to the American people” about the motivation for the attack and the state of security at the compound.
“I’m saying the administration has not told the truth and they have spread a false narrative,” he said. “Now, are you talking about a criminal cover up? No. But I would say certainly they were concealing or holding back facts that would have undercut their position.”
The agency's acting director, Michael Morell, will testify in Petraeus' place next week, said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. She did express confusion with the timing.
"What I don't understand is the immediate departure," Feinstein, D-California, told CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger. "That's the part I don't get."
Petraeus retired in 2011 as a four-star Army general after leading U.S. and international forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Barack Obama nominated him to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, where he became the fifth director in eight years. In a letter to CIA colleagues after Obama accepted his resignation, Petraeus said he exhibited "extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair."
Legislators on both sides of the aisle expressed surprise at Friday's announcement, and King offered praise of Petraeus' work.
"He's a man of extraordinary talent, extraordinary dedication, extraordinarily hardworking," King said. "When he would give his briefings, he would never turn to aides for any assistance, he was there. He knew it inside out. He was a 24/7 person with a really - the old expression, think outside the box, that was David Petraeus.
“I'm sure there's always somebody who can take your place, but I don't see anybody on the horizon who would have the same level of intellect dedication, experience and contacts all over the world," he continued. "This is a real loss for the country, a real loss for the CIA."
– CNN's Susie Xu contributed to this report
Amazing that so many already have their mind (what there is of one) made up that it is a cover-up. You have an ambassador that liked the Libian people and traveled frequently with little trouble through the areas going to see part of the opposition. The problem is that we and the Libians didn't want US boots on the ground so they were using a British version of Blackwater. That was a Libian request. The CIA had an outpost in Bengazi but it appears that if they all showed up with light weapons, you would want to know why there would be 12 dead Americans. Get real;.. Bad things happen to good people in that part of the workld in every country every day. The US just got caught in one of those operations by people who don't like us. If you are so bright to know exactly that the president somehow ordered the Ambassador tio be killed, get off your duff and go and get your FAUX show but until then, why not just wait until you actually know what you are talking about.. Otherwise, you just sound like a bunch of dumb Glenn Beck's (and that isn't a compliment)!
Dead ambassador,dead SEALS,missing Stinger missles,now the CIA director resigns.Seems like a good reason to get to the bottom of a botched Mid-East policy.
My guess is that Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Peter King is just a pervert that wants all the details of the affair.
Oh my, another mysterious coincidence just in time to save Obama.
Republicans would have more cred on this issue if they had been this gung ho about torture and the Bush administration.
Petraeus please testify without the four star military uniform. It will be a disgusting sight to the American honor.
OH HE better testify and Clinton too. #Benghazigate This is not about an affair, the timing is uncanny.
It's over Peter, your side lost.
Obama squeaky clean. Obama and Clinton - I don't know how these people sleep at night, probably counting LIES. Another four years, the nightmare goes on. No one should talk to Democrats anymore and we should all go over the fiscal cliff, what's the difference? We're going down the tubes anyway with this creepy baby-killing government. Let everything expire and let the dems talk about the Repubs, so what? It couldn't be any worse. Don't give in to the Dictator.
If you guys are saying he shouldnt go to testify, you are dishonest with yourselves and others. The man SHOULD, because regardless of the politics, we need to know what happened, why it happened, and how to prevent it in the future. That is not a political point, that is a common sense point. I thought liberals shouted logic and rationality from the roof tops? Why dont you guys actually follow through with it for once.
Why not just put everyone who is complaining about Bengazi be deported to Bengazi.
The Senate, the Senate Intelligence Committee which is controlled by Democrats is doing the investigation not congress. King just said that Director David Petraeus should still appear not that he did anything wrong. We need to know why this happened to help stop it from happening again.
1) Benghazi itself was bad. Attack on embassy, followed hours later by attack on CIA compound where 2 more were killed. How many hours does it take to get help to the area? Yes 9/11/01 was worse, but it wasn't put under the rug right before an election.
2) Drone shot down by IRAN over international waters days before election, just made public yesterday.
3) Now Petraeus steps down after election but before hearings?
IT IS OBVIOUS TO OUTSIDE OBSERVERS (Hi from a Canadian), that Obama and American media) are pulling the wool over the eyes of America. If you think otherwise, there are 99:1 odds you are a Democrat.
Rep. King hasn't got it yet that harrassment of the President isn't accepted in this country. Apparently Rep. King was in Libya when the ambassador was killed, so he knows exactly what happened. If not, how can he be a "critic?"
National Security, the incompetence of the Commander-in-Chief, the fiscal cliff – these were the issues on the table at the election. The American people chose Obamaphones and women's contraceptives and their six lives. We will all suffer from this ignorance. The exit of Patreaus is just the beginning.
The exit of Patreaus is just the beginning ?
Oh great one of supreme knowledge and wisdom .Please give us , the less enlightened just a little hint on what your referring to in regards to " The Beginning " .
Freedom , Did you choose that name or did your mother give it to you ? Maybe I should start posting under the name Liberty or Justice .
No , my name is Thomas.
People voted for Obama because they believed his promises, not because of anything to do with the Benghazi incident, so the idea that the negligence that led to the death of 4 Americans should be dismissed just because Obama was re-elected is absurd. Even if the re-election somehow indicated that half of America wanted to "move on", that doesn't change the facts of what happened in Libya. Petraeus was the one in charge when the incident happened – he's the one that should testify, not his replacement.
Guess they didn't ask him that question during the polygraph test during the interview...
Is there literally no end to the Millions of dollars that Reps Issa and King will squander with no results in a transparent attempt to pump up Fox News conspiracy theorys? How many times will they be allowed to cry "FIRE" in a crowded Theater like this before we stand up to them? It's insulting to Americans intelligence, expensive, and runs the risk of providing cover for serious investigations to be quashed.
I'm glad Obama was re-elected. Now he must face congress and the nation concering the obvious "lack of transparency" concerning the four UNNECESSARY deaths of fellow Americans in Benghazi. It will be interesting to see how much help the MSM gives Obama to wiggle and squirm his way out of this situation. I guess we are nearing the area where the MSM will accept the answer "that depends on what your definition of is, is".
Peter King is like most of the other Republicans in Congress which means he couldn't care less if the country falls apart as long as he makes Obama look bad. Every last Republican in Congress should be tried for treason against the US and then every single one of them would be found guilty. They are anti-American.
This Petraues scandal is a Bengahzi cover-up attempt orchestrated by this blatantly unlawful administration. 4 people die and this administration looks for a scape goat to keep the masses happy and voting for demise of this country. Nice Job.
A hearing on Libya without the director during the matter is meaningless.
If there's anything incriminating he can just do a "Reagan" and say "I don't recall" 700 times. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
Rep. King and Issa are just on a witch hunt. But, I guess it beats doing their job and earning their pay. Their job is to work FOR the betterment of the U.S.A. You know, jobs, infrastructure, etc.
Peter King is a poster boy for right wing nut. He is one of those gopers who seem to want Obama to fail more that they wants the country to prosper. Sour is the best word to describe King.
And yes – where was King when 9/11 happened? I don't remember him leading a charge to find out what happened there. Why was our watch down when thousands of American civilians died on American soil? Even after the 93 WTC bombing and after the Clinton administration warned Bush bin laden was America's greatest enemy but he chose to focus on China instead. This is no more than the usual goper venom and intransigence and the main reason I'm never going to vote for one.