"Now, I don't know if a lot of you have heard this but the CIA annex had actually taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner, and they think that the attack on the consulate was an attempt to get these prisoners back. It's still being vetted."
Your mileage may vary on Paula Broadwell's credibility, but she did have extensive access to Petraeus, more than she was supposed to have, and so whatever she has to say may well be a watered down version of what Petraeus knew or what he passed along to her.
Military expert Paula Broadwell, who was allegedly improperly involved with resigned CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, confirmed in October that the CIA annex in Benghazi asked for reinforcements when the consulate came under attack on September 11. She also acknowledged that "there was a failure in the system."
Broadwell confirmed the reports on Fox News that the CIA annex asked for a special unit, the Commander in Chief's In Extremis Force, to come and assist it. She also said that the force could indeed have reinforced the consulate, and that Petraeus knew all of this, but was not allowed to talk to the press because of his position in the CIA.
"The challenge has been the fog of war, and the greater challenge is that it's political hunting season, and so this whole thing has been turned into a very political sort of arena, if you will," she said. "The fact that came out today is that the ground forces there at the CIA annex, which is different from the consulate, were requesting reinforcements.
"They were requesting the – it's called the C-in-C's In Extremis Force – a group of Delta Force operators, our very, most talented guys we have in the military. They could have come and reinforced the consulate and the CIA annex.
This is standard so far. It confirms what we already know. It also suggests that Petraeus was the odd man out in this situation and that he was caught flatfooted by the denial of aid. And that again suggests that the affair revelation was due to Benghazi and not sudden prudery by Obama.
But here is where it gets strange...
Now, I don't know if a lot of you have heard this but the CIA annex had actually taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner, and they think that the attack on the consulate was an attempt to get these prisoners back. It's still being vetted.
That's a rather striking claim and I don't recall hearing it anywhere else. Earlier Broadwell appears to be quoting FOX News or just using FOX News as cover. But this is definitely outside the FOX News lines.
Broadwell could of course have just misheard or made a mistake. Still with her background in the military and intelligence work, it's hard to believe that she would "mishear" to such an extent. So either she was responding to the question by spinning her own theory or relaying something that she heard "somewhere".
Is her claim plausible? Probably more so than some of the theories that have gone around. Even under Obama, we're still sorta fighting a War on Terror. Rendition is still technically on the table even under Obama and the Ansar Al-Sharia militia had Al Qaeda links. Some of its members might have been thought to have valuable intel.
Still it seems a bit unlikely that with such a limited presence, the CIA would have moved against members of a heavily armed militia. Or even against Al Qaeda members in Benghazi not affiliated with the militia.
But it is an intriguing data point from a woman who was as close as one could possibly get to the head of the CIA.