Washington (CNN) - Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN CIA Director David Petraeus' resignation is "tragic for this human being" and for the country. "He loved the job, had a big design for the job," she said.
Feinstein also made the point that "people are going to say he's a scapegoat for Benghazi and that's absolutely false," referring to the controversy over the timeline of the terror attack at the U.S. mission in Libya that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. "I know what the personal story is. It is not a cover up."
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While she refused to elaborate on the details surrounding Petraeus' sudden departure, she told CNN "I deeply believe, based on what I know, that it was an egregious personal mistake."
In a press release, Feinstein also added that "I wish President Obama had not accepted his resignation, but I understand and respect the decision." In the interview with CNN, she declined to speculate about any possible replacement candidates.
What puzzles Feinstein, and others, is the sudden timing of the resignation. Hearings on Capitol Hill regarding Benghazi are still scheduled for next week, and Acting CIA Director Michael Morell will testify in his place. "What I don't understand is the immediate departure," she said. "That's the part I don't get."
Feinstein added she still intends to hold the hearing starting next Thursday to figure out "who did what and when – and what was missing?"
On a more personal level regarding Petraeus, who is a retired four star general, Feinstein theorized that "the transition to civilian life, whether you are a private or a four-star is really hard. Everything changes when you take off the medals." She added "You're not accustomed to being questioned constantly, people are giving you a lot of flak."
That was the case with Petraeus and the Benghazi controversy to be sure – although Petraeus himself worked very hard to maintain a low-key profile. That ended Friday.