November 10th, 2012
10:32 AM ET
2 years ago

Rep. King: Petraeus’ resignation doesn’t preclude testimony

(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


Filed under: David Petraeus • New York • Peter King
soundoff (129 Responses)
  1. Jake

    How much of our tax dollars is Congressman King willing to waste chasing windmills?

    November 10, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. Bessy

    Has anyone else noticed that a couple of our bloggers have changed their names. Did they really think we wouldn't notice it ? Their hate comments give them away.

    November 10, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  3. NoKidding

    LOL I never saw the republicans getting worked up from all the attacks to our diplomatic sites all over the world under GW Bush, never saw the outrage when tens of thousand of people die because of GW Bush stupid meddling in Iraq, never saw an outrage because GW Bush blew right through the surplus left by Clinton, and jacked up the deficit to a record level, never saw an outrage about pork barrel projects, never saw an outrage about them totally ignoring the democrats in congress and doing whatever they wanted to do... But now they are worked up about EVERYTHING... Sad bunch of losers and hypocrits...

    November 10, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. NickAnast

    Maybe, just maybe, Petraeus decided that patching up his 37-year marriage was more important than politics.

    November 10, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. ppppuuuuuu

    why dont you pass a jobs bill, do something constructive or get the hell of the way, refuse to take your benefits and pay, because you are dang sure not earning them.

    November 10, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. Robrob

    Of *course* he could still testify, resigned or not. It has been fun watching the conspiracy types spin themselves into a frenzy over his resignation being a "ploy" to keep him from talking!

    November 10, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. hadenough

    We need the truth, men died and someone needs to be held accountable. Lies, deception, murder, what else is left to embarrass this administration? Not much, this administration makes Watergate look petty.

    November 10, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. Grinning Libber

    Sure put him up there – and ask about the breaches of security involved in his affair.
    The chick was writing a book!

    November 10, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. Vandalize

    Why was Steven's in Benghazi with inadequate security in the first place. That's the question I want to know.
    He knew he didn't have enough security. Was he so overconfident that the Libyians adored him that he toured around the country not worrying about an outcome like this. The GOPs always talk about personal responsibility, didn't he have the responsibility of making sure everyone with him was in a safe environment. Couldn't he have met with whoever he was meeting with in Tripoli at our secure Embassy? We at are war people, whether in Afganistan or anywhere in the Middle East. Terrorist want to kill us, we need to be more cognizant of that when we make decisions about travel.

    November 10, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. Bob

    To the tinfoil hat brigade, like FREEDOM, et al: The POTUS does NOT directly oversee diplomatic mission security, so your bleating about his alleged "incompetence" on the issue just reveals your ignorance. The same applies to the fiscal cliff: look to Congress for the biggest part of that. But keep on focusing on this blather rather than what is fundamentally wrong with the Republican party, and you'll ensure a Democrat in the White House for the foreseeable future. We need a two-party system, and dopes like you jeopardize that by making the GOP less and less relevant.

    November 10, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  11. Tom

    The Republican party needs to wake up and realize that allowing the right-wing media outlets to set the party's policy and direction is a prescription for disaster. There's no question that the country needs to understand what went wrong in Benghazi, but turning a tragic situation into a lame witch hunt is just wrong. Enough with the crazy conspiracy theories. Enough with the obstruct and embarrass mentality on every issue. How many presidential elections do you guys have to lose before the message will sink in? Try working to run the country responsibly for a while.

    November 10, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. Nodack

    Give it up Republicans. You lost the election. Your witch hunt has no purpose now. Maybe you should consider doing something to move the country forward instead of concentrating all your efforts into attacking our President 24/7/365. That's a big reason you lost the election. People are tired of you guys and your constant BS. The next four years will define the Republican party. Are you going to join in and help steer the country in the right direction or are you just going to spend all your time searching for scandals to exploit or fabricate and not do anything to help the country AGAIN.

    November 10, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. JackieKG

    If they are on the up and up, then an honest evaluation of the what happened will vindicate them. We should move forward with the investigation and Petreus should testify. I'm ok if he does it off camera as long as the public has access to the testimony.

    November 10, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. FREEDOM

    @ anonymous Fox News is a very credible news source – and it is YOU and the rest of your kind who are brainwashed that it isn't. And why do you think they are trying to brainwash you? Because Fox News is the most watched cable network news channel – and they are threatened by it. The left always tries to ridicule things they are threatened by – like a petty, ignorant, bully.

    @NVa Native "Sick bunch of angry old people?" And what would you label yourselves? Your vote just cemented all the corrupt policies that will kill jobs and jeoperdize our national security. I would call that a group than is very short-sighted and is truly not caring about America. This administration wants to see us implode – how could half this country not see that?

    November 10, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. Dude in Colorado

    So where was the GOP outrage when as the result of the "failed security policies" of their "incompetent" president 3000+ people died on American soil on 9/11? Or, when he "lied to the American people" about WMDs in Iraq and then used those lies as justification of destabilize the region, spend close to $1Trillion on a war that cost the US an additional 3000+ lives? Hmm, where was this outrage and "need to investigate" then? I'm not saying we don't need to find out what happened, I'm just saying I detest the stench of the GOP's hypocrisy!

    The first four years of the Obama Administration were hallmarked by GOP obstructionism, the next will be hallmarked by the GOP trying to impeach Obama on charges fueled by selective outrage and BS.

    Cuomo 2016

    November 10, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. Mike500

    The whole Benghazi story has yet to come out. Of course, now the MSM may actually focus on it. They stonewalled covering it before the election.

    November 10, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  17. realitybites

    member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

    Wow maybe King should the under investigation too as to why he didn't know the attack on sovereign American citizens was bieng planned. Too busy trying to help his buddies take over the Senate I guess.

    November 10, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. IDontBelieveIt

    Uere we go again – the Democrat establishment ,funded by Soros etc money, close ranks to cover up ANOTHER Obama foul-up!
    He's always BRAGGING about being C-in-C – shouldn't someone tell Obama that the BUCK stops with HIM? HE is accountable.
    Now he's willing to sacrifice Petraeus [the best Military Commander since Eisenhower] in order to cover his sorry backside. NO-ONE who works for Obama is safe when he needs a scapegoat!

    The MEDIA held back on Libya till after the election? NOo WONDER Obama could tell Medvedev 8 MONTHS before a single vote was castthat heWAS goin g to be elected!!!!!

    Tell me – are ALL Americans dead from the neck up? Streuth – you're SO easily led!

    November 10, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  19. Woman In California

    King and all the rest of his hyenas can keep looking for a human sacrifice all they want, but they'll never find anything that will stick to the Obama administration. You would think after Tuesday's "smackdown" they would get the message – people are not buying their lies or their quest for power anymore. This will all end in the Obama's administration FAVOR just as everything else has and the republicans once again, will have wasted time that could have been used helping the American people.

    November 10, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. rock woman

    Petraeus did the honorable thing by resigning. King should do the same.

    November 10, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    He absolutely should testify irregardless if he is CIA Chief or not. Next should be Hillary Clinton then Susan Rice.

    November 10, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. Jo

    Anyone involved should be called to testify "R or "D" – let the chips fall where they may. American should not make seeking the truth a partisan issue.

    November 10, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. Jo

    NVA – there were hearings for 9/11 and there have been embassy attacks by terrorists since there have been embassies, under all Presidents "R or "D" doesn't matter. And they all have state department investigations. The difference is most don't come out of the gate blatantly lying to the American people, for political purposes as THIS administration did.

    November 10, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  24. Mary1972

    King shows that GOP cares little for the country and more interested in the blame game. Get over it King. Obama won, the ACA is a law of the land and learn to work with the Dems. Otherwise, GOP will be history in 2014.

    November 10, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  25. Brian

    Opportunistic Republican politicians like to create non-issues because they can't run on real issues. Joe McCarthy was an extreme example of this.

    November 10, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
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