November 11th, 2012
10:42 AM ET
1 year 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. Patriot

    Why is it always a conspiracy for Republicans? Paranoia serves to feed and satisfy their view of the world. Odd though, Liberals have far more reason to be paranoid given the conservative track record. Just more balanced, normal, people in the Liberal camp I assume.

    November 11, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. glorydays

    King is just another right wing nut who needs a job at FOX.

    November 11, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. Transporter25

    This is just another step in the GOP coup d'etat manual authored by Newt Gingrich. First they obstruct, then they try to shut down the government, then they try to impeach the President on trumped-up charges, then they try to say he never accomplished anything (because of all of the above).

    It's 1995 again, and the GOP has a contract (out on) America again...

    November 11, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  4. Deva

    Here we go again; digging out dirt. Something the Republicans are very good at. GO FOR IT. Whether is a serious need for it or not, the Republican conclave will go for this with all might! They have nothing lose.

    November 11, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. Robert from Ohio

    Let's stop with the distractions Rep King!

    November 11, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. John

    "Just doesn't add up" is another way of saying "my gut told me ..."

    No one cares what your flatulence is telling you. Facts or nothing.

    November 11, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. Samantha M

    King needs to chill out. Just another old whiteguy who's waaaayyyy too uptight. Things get done without all the anger these guys show.

    November 11, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. John

    to himsellf.....another opportunity to go after the president!!!...............................pathetic...............

    November 11, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. MR VIJAY

    national security is not a democrat or republican issue, democrats controlled senate and house the last 2 years of bush second term, they would or should have investigated anything that comprimises national security, so now to say that republicans should forget this focus on getting the econmy kickstarted is utter nonsense. the last 4 years the senate presented 0 budgets and now u talk about focussing on jobs are u kidding the county? , you have to accept the fact that the second terrm of president obama is for the same reasons that bush won his second terrm, in times of uncertainity , the majority in usa did not want more uncertainity in the president as well. as with bush so with obama we are certain what we are getting into and that is reasons for this victory etc now if the security is compimised that needs to be found out and all responsible should be brought to justice this can take place along with measures that kick start our economy finally two things 1. two wrongs do not make one right, if bush did wrong , and obama did wrong too, that does not make obama right and 2. as harry truman said " the buck stops here" , the president as head of the nation's security is answerable and responsible for compromise if any in national security and is responsible for any compromise that needs to happen to get the economy kick started

    November 11, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    King is correct, the story doesn't add up. It has fish scales all over it...and they reek.

    November 11, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  11. JerPell

    WELCOME...To the world of Obama...Scandal after Scandal after Scandal....

    November 11, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. larry the conquerer

    I dont see any conspiracy here, just a ticked off republican trying to make himself into some crusader of the truth.
    @ doug- claiming Bush has more integrity than Obama is rich considering that Obama has a Nobel Peace Prize, and Bush is considered a war criminial outside the USA.

    November 11, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. bubba

    Red Pison....no we don't have to blame this on Obama. We have enough to blame him for already. Have a nice day.

    November 11, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. John

    So what the GOP is hoping to find......Obama forced Patreus to have the affair.........that will make about as much sense as going after his "birth certificate scandal"......

    November 11, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  15. trayvon47

    can't believe all the people who are attacking obama over the bangzai attack. 3 people died, bush was warned about 9/11 where how many died. 3 people dieing in the grand scheme of things is nothing. if that building had more people in it the death toll would just be higher. the ambassador knew the risks when he took the job. that coutry was unstable as hell. it was going to be dangerous. clearly they had an evacuation plan in place that worked he got killed in a car getting away. he nearly got away. the ambassador could have either quit or gone to the press if he felt it was too bad. he probably had authority to hire personal security which he doesnt seem to have done. i'm sure he had freedom to hire lots of security. i doubt he had 0 budget there. he probably could have demanded security from the other government also.

    November 11, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. oneslydragon

    King is just doing the normal politico thingy, throw out doubt, the only thing that does not add up is King's sincerity towards this country. This is another Benghazi blabber by the GOP.

    November 11, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. Thom

    Hey Repubs if sill wondering why you lost, This guy is one big factor and your going to keep losing stop the obstrucing and the silly witch hunts

    November 11, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. James Mason

    And I thought that the GOP might have learned something from the just completed election! No risk of that apparently!

    November 11, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. Jeff Cox

    Peter King is a miserable jerk.

    The Republicans live by a simple approach – "Do whatever we can to divert attention to the fact that we're hurting this country. Claim other people are unpatriotic, and maybe people will not be able to see that it's US who are doing the damage."

    November 11, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  20. anna maria amar-robbins

    People just give Gen Petreaus same good credit. He came and told what he did. Remember what Clinton did? Clinton did the opposite, he lied, lied and lied. He turned the white house in to a circus and a long soap opera to the American people. Just give the men credit. He came forward and told what he did. now what? stop to making up stores and put on papers for people to read.

    November 11, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  21. fangers

    To: ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    Wrong again...Clinton totally dismantled the intelligence community during his term and those cuts are still being paid for. You simply can't lose that much knowledge and experience and make it up over night.

    November 11, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. nik green

    Does nobody know about Rep. Peter King's history in collaborating with, and supporting terrorists? He was the most active funder and organizer for the Provisional Irish Republican Army during the period when they were most actively conducting their campaign of terrorism. This group is listed by the US Department of State as a terror organization alongside al Qaeda, Hamas, MEK and dozens of others. King has openly admitted to supporting the IRA terror campaign through the US based NORAID group, and he has publicly admitted that he is "proud of his actions". King also collaborated with former Libyan strongman Muammar Gadhafi in acquiring arms and explosives for the IRA.

    Rep. King, since January 3, 2011, has been the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, a position which he still occupies. As I am not familiar with the process by which the US Congress selects, or nominates the chair of this particular Committee, I would be grateful if anyone could inform me (and the American people) as to how a known supporter and long-term contributor to international terrorism could have been selected to a prominent position within a US government committee responsible for formulating anti-terrorism policy.

    If the US government wishes to successfully maintain public support for its "war on terrorism", it would greatly help – as regards credibility – if those entrusted with the task were free from personal involvement in supporting terrorism.

    Having had several acquaintances severely injured (as well as having been personally lucky to avoid injury or worse) in the U.K. by IRA bombings, helped along by King's "proud efforts", I write this letter with a profound sense of outrage; the level of hypocrisy is breathtaking.

    Peter King to the IRA is the same as Osama bin Laden to al Qaeda.

    November 11, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. ted

    Did Rep. King lose, I hope so?

    November 11, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. Marc Florida

    He had an affair, period. Why as a nation we are so intent on getting into the bedroom boggles the imagination. Stirring the pot for security violations is nonsense. This issue should be left alone to the specific families involved.

    November 11, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  25. Pete/Ark

    Red-- even Tom Clancy couldn't sell that fantasy.

    November 11, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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