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. Notsurpised

    Just another way to divert attention away from the more important issues this country faces. Leave it to a Republican to let his imagination run away with a lucid thinking process. Boo!

    November 11, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. NetPress

    Do you really want to believe any word that comes out of any Republican's mouth. All Republicans are liars and they do anything for a buck. They sell their soul for money and they don't care about our country.
    They look at their own goverment as a "Cash Cow". Milking poeple and fleecing America.
    Republican should always go back and take a ggod look at what Bush Family did to our country. Trators.

    November 11, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. Skipper Sam

    King praised Obama's nominations of Leon Panetta for United States Secretary of Defense and General David Petraeus for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency saying, "Director Panetta has done an outstanding job at the CIA, and General Petraeus has distinguished himself as one of the great American military leaders. Both men ... will be instrumental as we continue to combat the terrorist threat.”

    November 11, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. gmenfan54

    Infidelity has been around since the caveman.

    November 11, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. Carole thomas

    Everyone is ready to shoot first and ask questions later. The man got caught because his sweetie thought she might not be his only sweetie, or cause the female who is not a family member and not the sweetie, has her religion coat on and wants this hanky panky to stop. When he found out he was going to be out-ed, he had to go home and tell Holly By Golly who he had been doing. Let's keep it simple til it turns out to be something more.

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

    Why do the Obama minions continue to bring up what happened when Bush was President to divert what is happening under the current administration. It continues to sound like a third graders saying everyone is doing it so its okay. Take responsiblity rather then continuing the smoke screens,

    November 11, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |

    If every body know now, they should give him his position back...who the helll cares about his extramarital affairs anymore....

    November 11, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. karenmccleskey

    he had an affair. so what. many men are guilty of this immoral behavior and there is always a woman to say yes on the other side of the bed or vice versa. THIS IS NOT NEWSWORTHY.

    November 11, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  9. Election Is Over

    Now we don't have to worry about covering up Intelligence or Security Breeches and can just forget about cleaning up after Hurricains and let all that national Security Business go and oh yeah, why bother worrying about fixing the economy, I mean there's no more elections to worry about right? Just let it all go to hell. Hey everyone, party's in Burma, let's go!

    November 11, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  10. AquariousinAZ

    I am not sure as to why this is being nit picked to pieces. For one, the investigation wasn't initially directed at Petraeus but rather at his autobiographer. The FBI just happened to uncover the affair in the process. So, to say that we have a cover up here, seems a stretch.

    That said, I do think that Petraeus should still testify regarding the Benghazi situation. I don't see why he wouldn't do so even after his resignation.

    November 11, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. nightstorm6

    The congressman is clearly mathematically challenged, except for counting money from lobbyists/PACS. Any ordinary citizen exhibiting paranoid delusions like these conspiracy theorists would find themselves in a locked psych unit.
    The business of the country awaits, congress.

    November 11, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  12. Marrow

    These wingnuts think everything is a conspiracy.

    November 11, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. larry5

    We are going to see how well the Administration's spin machine works. Where's the news about the Admiral that got sacked?

    November 11, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. michael

    Suprise Surprise. A Republican who thinks the "story just doesn't add up". Always looking for some kind of consipiracy regardless of the facts. Then of course there are the smaill minded Republican minions. But you can't blame these Republicans for their inane comments. After all, these are the ones who help elect the small minded, Un-American Republicans in Congress.

    November 11, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  15. barbraS

    Less than a week since the election and the conspiracy theorists have fresh blood to satisfy their thirst!

    November 11, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. D Song

    Already starting the bipartisan nonsense.

    November 11, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  17. brian

    O yeah sure, if they had notified congress or the prez, all the information would have been leaked on the spot! The FBI has the right to do a full investigation and keep it quite, if not any it would compromise the whole investigation.

    November 11, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. clarke

    Not everything is a cover up. Under Bush there were several attacks on US embassies and people died. Why is it only under Obama that people question everything. Look it, the election is over and Obama won, accept that fact and let us move on. We have our own Nation to think about. Let people investigate, let them gather the facts and then we can talk about it. Until then , please lets us move on. I feel Obama is a good man and he does love the United State of America and it's people and he will do good, if some people will get off his back. The Republicans just can't stop for 2 seconds about the President. Give up the ghost and move forward, please! The GOP just keeps shooting themselves in the foot.

    November 11, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. Scott

    vic, nashville, tn said: Crazy talks gave House democrats more the popular votes

    Are you saying that votes for a Democrat house candidate in New York should determine who should be elected from congressional districts in Wyoming? I'm afraid you don't understand how our government is designed to select members of the house.

    November 11, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. johngf

    Don't expect the truth from President Obama, you will never get it. The story you will get is the fiction he spouts.

    November 11, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  21. sparky

    Nothing about this investigation will keep Petraeus from testifying. If conspiracy theorists think that's the reason, then try again.

    November 11, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  22. News Reader

    Follow the dots .... there is something up with this ... mark my words, it will go to the top and not be good for the Chicago gang running the show.

    November 11, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  23. Scott

    user well said: neo-cons lost the election to neo-libs. betrayus is a neo-con. betrayus lost his job. questions?

    We could start with "what did the president know and when did he know it?"

    November 11, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  24. vmm

    Congress - Focus on the economy!!! Or watch Congress in 2014 get cleansed of the obstructionists.

    November 11, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  25. Reality

    Why Republicans always sound so desperate for attention ?

    November 11, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
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