November 11th, 2012
10:42 AM ET
5 years ago

Lawmakers raise questions on how Petraeus affair was handled

(CNN) – The top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee said Sunday that the length of the FBI's investigation into David Petraeus' extramarital affair raises serious questions about the government's response to potentially comprised intelligence.

Rep. Peter King, who made the remarks on CNN's "State of the Union," joined Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in expressing concern over how the FBI and other federal agencies handled the investigation into the former CIA director’s affair, and specifically why members of Congress with oversight over intelligence and homeland security weren't briefed on the discoveries.

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"I have questions about the whole matter," Rep. Peter King told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley, pointing to reports that the White House first learned of the affair in a phone call from the FBI to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper at 5 p.m. on election night.

The FBI discovered Petraeus' affair during an investigation into a complaint that his biographer, Paula Broadwell, was sending harassing e-mails to another woman close to the retired four-star general, a U.S. official said Saturday.

During the investigation, other communications surfaced between Petraeus and Broadwell, a married mother of two, according to the official.

On Saturday, questions arose about why congressional leaders were not informed of the investigation immediately.

According to a congressional aide familiar with the matter, the House and Senate intelligence committees weren't informed that there was an FBI investigation into Petraeus until Friday.

Feinstein said on “Fox News Sunday” she wished intelligence officials had briefed her and other members of her committee earlier in their investigation.

“We received no advanced notice. It was like a lightning bolt,” Feinstein said, adding she thought the Petraeus affair was “something that could have had an effect on national security.”

“I think we should have been told,” the California Democrat said.

"It just doesn't add up," King, R-New York, said on CNN. "You have this type of investigation. The FBI investigating e-mails, the e-mails leading to the CIA director, and taking four months to find out that the CIA director was involved. I have real questions about this. I think a timeline has to be looked at and analyzed to see what happened."

The president should have been alerted far sooner if sensitive information had been compromised, King said, particularly since the investigation involved the nation's top intelligence chief.

"Obviously this was a matter involving a potential compromise of security, and the president should have been told about it at the earliest state. That's really all I'm saying."

The resignation also comes days before Petraeus was slated to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee about the September 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The attack, in which four Americans were killed, became a point of contention during the presidential campaign.

On Friday, 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.

Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, dismissed any questions about the government's investigation into Petraeus' e-mails, saying he didn't "see a conspiracy behind every curtain."

"It seems that the chain of events is pretty clear," Menendez said on "State of the Union."

Filed under: David Petraeus • Dianne Feinstein • Peter King
soundoff (434 Responses)
  1. Nodack

    I thought as soon as the election was over that Republicans would stop trying to turn everything into a scandal, but I was wrong. This Republican doesn't know what he is looking for, but thinks he smells a scandal somewhere so he wants to start another investigation. He has to wait until te Bengazi investigation concludes first where they think they smell another scandal, but try aren't sure what that might be, but they will keep digging until they find one.

    Meanwhile we have urgent business that needs to be taken care of to turn this country around, but Republicans are too busy trying to hunt for scandals to try to exploit instead of doing anything productive for their country. You would think they learned a few lessons from the election, but once FOX has you are in tabloid mode I imagine it's hard to do anything else.

    Americans are tired of the fighting and the gridlock. Either lead or go away.

    November 11, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    Does King ever do any actual legislating or is he just pulling a salary as an attack dog?

    November 11, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. Mike in SA

    This seriously doesn't add up at all. You have officials saying they had been aware of the probe for several weeks and also that they concluded there was no criminal violation. Several weeks??? It should not have taken "several weeks" to conclude no laws had been broken. Unless you are on a fishing expedition it shouldn't take much time at all. Either the communications violated the law or not and if not, there should be no further investigation. That would be an abuse of power.

    All it should take is to have the "victim" show the threatening emails she received, verify that the statements and/or actions were in fact against the law, verify where they came from and make an arrest. In that case the alleged perpetrator can then offer evidence to the contrary. However, if the "victim" can't provide evidence that a law has been broken, then what is the FBI doing digging through the personal communications of a private citizen??? Like I said, unless they are on a fishing expedition...and this sure smells like fish.

    Another thing that shouldn't take weeks is to come up with a motive for the alleged threats which it sounds likely had something to do with Petraeus. Surely that question would have been asked. If it were - which is likely - this means the FBI would likely have suspected the affair weeks ago and should have informed both the Congressional Intelligence Committee and the President at that time. Did they? If not why not?

    November 11, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. Chutzpah

    Spit on it and sin, Mr. I-see-a-conspiracy-under-every-bedsheet. Somehow this just MUST have something to do with our Muslim Preseident, eh?

    November 11, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. 2020

    Peter King Your assertion of NOT KNOWING tells me you are not doing your job, not at your desk.

    You want a soap opera play out on TV? you should be the one cast the first stone.

    Shame on you

    November 11, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. kingofchatalot


    November 11, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Keane

    Rep. King is just trying to stoke the embers of their big Benghazi conspiracy. The Benghazi timeline was published in the Washington Post (article by David Ignatius). There was no conspiracy or "stand-down" order. Benghazi was a tragedy, but not for the reasons that Fox and Republicans try to lead Americans to think.

    November 11, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. dvg93

    Rear Adm. Charles M. Gaouette, Gen Hamm and now Petraeus are replaced. Coincidence? Need a bridge? I have one.

    Without proper information our demcracy cannot survive. CNN, Fox, all of you in the media are complicit.

    We've had a nice run, but I guess man is going to return to the form of government he has lived under for most of history, tyranny.

    Thankyou CNN.

    November 11, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain: Let's see the list of donors!

    If King really wants to do something beneficial for our country, he should be demanding the immediate release of the list of campaign donors to both the Repub and Democratic candidates.

    Let's shine some sunlight on just where all those millions of dollars came from thanks to Citizens United ...

    November 11, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. MSpencer

    Will someone please save these people from themselves? Fresh from their vitriol, spin and outright prevarication during the 2012 Election, this sort of attempt at slanting a wholly-unconnected news event to their advantage is going to get them nowhere but further in a hole with the electorate. America is sick, sick, sick of the likes of Rep. King. Hmmm.... On second thought, let the good times roll . Go for it, GOP! Spin away, GOP! Make yourselves look even more ridiculous, GOP!
    With love, The Opposition

    November 11, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. Terry Vann

    Republicans say it don't add up!!
    Since when could they do arithmetic!

    November 11, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. KarlRover

    Doesn't this guy have more important things to do that worry about some other dude's dirt laundry?

    November 11, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  13. pselkins

    I can remember when General David Petraeus was the darling of republicans when he was in charge of the surge of Iraq. Now he's their goat because he dared be the head of the CIA while Obama was in office. It's yet another example of republican loyalty and how they're turn on anyone.

    November 11, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. thegifted

    Geez, Mr. King, maybe the FBI didn't think that your Intelligence Committee could be trusted to keep the investigation secret. The think?.....

    November 11, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. Rob in MO

    The republican war hero had an affair; obviously it's all Obama's fault.

    November 11, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  16. Terry Vann

    Having Gen. Petraus testify would be a plus for the administration.
    Will someboy please wake up!

    November 11, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  17. Tim

    Obama got a huge pass in his first term, nothing stuck to him. Now we have Bengazi and this new farce which could just be that one string... It's really a shame. If the media had done it's job the last four years, Obama's administration would have had been better kept in check. That's not necessarily a slight on Obama, but on government in general.

    November 11, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  18. Steve

    just speculation. let's just wait and see.

    November 11, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  19. BeverlyNC

    Nothing ever adds up for Republican King. Everything is a conspiracy. Everything he says is full of hate, lies, and self-promotion. Did the Republican learn NOTHING from the President Obama landslide win? We are sick to death of Republicans like King, Cantor. Bachmann, McConnell and other obstructionist do-nothings who have only betrayed the People to try to keep President Obama from accomplishing anything. If McConnell starts filibustering everything again – he should be censured by the Senate, removed from office and accused of being a traitor to the recovery of our nation. ENOUGH is ENOUGH. We want this Congress to GET TO WORK FOR THE PEOPLE NOW. If Republicans want to just keep playing games – we will see them at the voting booth in 2014 and put a Democratic Majority in the House so serious work can begin on education, infrastructure, jobs, and tax fairness.

    November 11, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  20. TexAnne

    Rep. King just looks like an angry disgruntled mean person.

    November 11, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. Lukas

    Time for politicians to quit playing childish 'partisan' politics and spend their time finding ways to come together for the country and it's people.

    November 11, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  22. Tommy

    Can someone please tell how an affair needs to be investigated by the FBI, congress and the senate?? He aired it and resigned, why does our government always find ways to waste time vs fixing the real problems. The only party who deserves answers is hi wife and her only.

    November 11, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  23. Skipper Sam

    King served in the 165th Infantry Regiment of the New York National Guard from 1968 until he was honorably discharged in 1974.

    Like most National Guard units, the regiment was not called up for Korea or Vietnam

    Gee who would have guessed ?

    November 11, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  24. Bob

    These Republicans spent the first 4 years of Obama's Presidency trying to find a scandal or conspiracy and found nothing. When do these crazy people stop or just go away? Do we have to spend another 4 yeas looking for Obama's lost brother, or his birth certificate, or can we get around to solving problems?

    November 11, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  25. jonathanfrid

    This does stink... This whole Benghazi thing stinks... This Patraeus affair (with its national security implications) was kept under wraps right up to election night to protect Obama from more attention on Benghazi... He already dodged a bullet when Candy Crowley lobbed out misinformation during the debate on this matter and derailed a legitimate criticism of the President handling of the matter (Candy did him a great favor - one which she had to admit to the next day). Suppressing this information about Patraeus until the very last moment was a deliberate attempt from within to keep this issue from coming back to life. It was political - nothing else. Yes, it does stink.

    November 11, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
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