White House: ‘Up to Congress’ whether Petraeus testifies on Benghazi

Olivier Knox

The White House said Tuesday that it was "up to Congress" whether to call former CIA Director David Petraeus to testify about the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya.

"Congress [makes] decisions about who is called to testify," press secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily briefing.

The Intelligence Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives had been set to hear from Petraeus about the attack on the American compound in separate closed-door hearings on Thursday. But aides to both panels indicated that the retired Army general would be replaced by Mike Morrell, the acting CIA director.

"The president is confident that Acting Director Morrell is fully informed and capable of representing the CIA in a hearing about the incidents in Benghazi," Carney said.

Still, key senators have made it clear that Petraeus, whose shocking resignation came after the public disclosure of an extramarital affair, will ultimately need to be heard. The attack claimed the lives of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, told MSNBC on Monday that her panel "should go ahead with Mike Morell and the way it is now set up."

"But I also think that the community should know that this is not sufficient," she continued. "And I have no doubt now that we will need to talk with David Petraeus. And we will likely do that in closed session, but it will be done one way or the other."

Feinstein also said the Senate would fight, if necessary, to obtain a report from a Petraeus trip to Libya in late October.

"We have asked to see the trip report. One person tells me he has read it, and then we tried to get it and they tell me it hasn't been done. That's unacceptable," she said. "We are entitled to this trip report, and if we have to go to the floor of the Senate on a subpoena, we will do just that."