November 11th, 2012
10:42 AM ET
6 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. Disappointed American

    Why can't men who are in powerful, authoritative positions do their jobs without cheating on their wives?

    November 11, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. Ton

    Just days before he's supposed to testify on Benghazi? Now he won't? Yeah, seems clear what's really going on here.

    November 11, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. bob

    What makes everybody think that Petreaus won't testify? Just because he resigned doesn't mean he's exempted from it. And for all you consipiracy theorists out there, just remember that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

    November 11, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  4. Cam Spurgeon

    Kink is a conspiracy idiot. Runs to camera to try to slant anything that may discredit the President. He does disservice to country every time he opens mouth and needs to be voted out.Dont know when his term is up but people need to smarten up in NY and throw him out.

    November 11, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. Schwartz

    If everybody having had an affair in Washington were discovered like Petraeus was, Washington would be empty.

    November 11, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  6. Claire

    Surprise surprise the quack king of Democratic conspiracy theories speaks out.

    November 11, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  7. Lone wolf

    Here we go again, the republicans trying to make more out of this story than what is really there. They still don't get it. The majority of Americans are tired of their continued attacks and made up a conspiracy theories. They just can't get over their anger and hate. They continue to waste tax payers money to further their own ideology.

    November 11, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. Scottt01

    Question is, was Benghazi an actual event or a distraction that got out of control. Why else stand down support?

    November 11, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  9. vet4life63

    Let's hear it for Petraeus, The King, didn't want to be questioned, and he willingly fell on his sword for him. Bravo, Bravo, well done old chap! You must protect the King at all cost! (Even if it means cover ups or lying to the American people).

    November 11, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. Amazing

    No one knows all the facts yet and there are so many people on this post have jumped to conclusions.

    November 11, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. Jim

    The timing of the case is suspect, obviously. But Rep. King should follow his own advice and look at his own timeline. First, make accusation. Second, conduct investigation. Mr. King should consider conducting HIMSELF with a little more professionalism. You are not a pundit on Fox News. You are a member of the House of Representatives on the Intelligence committee. Focus on your JOB first. When you fulfill your responsibilities THEN play politics and make accusations or no one in the middle is ever going to respect you. And your party isn't doing so hot in the middle lately.

    November 11, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. GOP = Greed Over People

    It has been disclosed that a FBI whistle blower notified Cantor about the Petraeous "cover up conspiracy"/affair 2 weeks ago.


    November 11, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. Truthbearer1

    This whole attack is not a conspiracy; if you connect the accounts of people, you can get a clear timeline. When the Islam video was posted in June or July, terrorists in Libya saw the video and were outraged over it. So, they planned an attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya and started protests in the other African countries in order to distract the U.S. from their prime target of the consulate in Libya. The terrorists then attacked the consulate and killed 4 Americans. Even if there were more guards, it is probably not likely that they could have saved our ambassador because the terrorists were very determined to leave a mark on the U.S. and could have led to more American casualties. Responders to the attack arrived 30 minutes after the attack and helped survivors. The next day, Obama knew that there was an attack, but he did not know why. The investigation would have been delayed because of the threat of another terrorist attack at the embassy in order to disrupt their investigation, and also the embassy is located on the other side of the world, in a volatile region, which would hinder how long it would take. In order to provide an answer to the public, Obama assumed that because of the protests in the other countries, that this was started because of the video. He did not want to say that it was a terrorist attack because if he was wrong, people would think that he was scaring the people or something worse. Only after we learned that it was a terrorist attack that people against the president attacked him for misleading the public, even though he had not full learned the details of the attack, because the government did not want to jump to conclusions and because of the bureaucracy involved in the investigation. Therefore, it is wrong to fault the president for this attack.

    November 11, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. Harvey

    S0mething else is going on, You don't throw away a military asset like Petraeus just because he can't keep zipper up.Somewhere, somehow, someone wants to keep his mouth shut, I would be willing to bet he was given the choice of resigning with full military honors and pension or to be fired with nothing.

    November 11, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. JT

    More partisan bs. I hope they vote King out next election and all of the others in Congress who are just about wastig our time and money.

    November 11, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  16. BelladonnaCove

    Soooo...should Obama be impeached for the Benghazi incident ? Anyone ?

    November 11, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  17. Kimbo

    There needs to be an investigation to try and make sure this doesn't happen again, not to place blame. For those of you who wish to cast blame on the President, your reasoning means Bush and the Republicans were to blame in 9/11 happening-which of course they were not. Signs might have been missed, but to think you get get straight facts half a world away in a matter of hours or even days is unrealistic. Information was rushed only because the Republicans tried to make political points from a National Tragedy. Most people see through this, it's time to start working together. if our country is ever to move forward.

    November 11, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  18. Ton of Dirt

    I dont know about you, but Im tired of being lied to by the FBI and the Government. Just tell the people the truth so you don't discredit yourself. We don't by the affair b.s.

    November 11, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  19. midwestmatt

    I just love how the right wing extremist always smell a conspiracy no matter the situation.

    Benghazi was a CIA operation that came under attack by Al Qaeda or other militants targeting intelligence gathers. It may very well turn out that our ambassador knew far more about the intel works of the CIA that the CIA will ever let on.

    EVERY single rumor created by FOX has turned out to be complete bull. No one was denied help, no one was told to stand down, the two former SEALS who died were CIA employees and were killed hours after the initial attack started in a completely different location and no "real time" monitoring with the POTUS watching while doing nothing EVER HAPPENED.

    Petraeus was sleeping around on his wife and he resigned. He did the right thing. He should still testify so the liars like Rep. King and the liars at FOX will shut their mouths because his testimony will show that no one did anything wrong.

    November 11, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. SickOfPolitics

    How can Peter King spend time on this and write for SI? Seems like a busy guy~

    November 11, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. rosethornne

    And by the way, geeeeeniuses, Congress can subpoena anyone they want, employed by the CIA or not. Petraeus can still testify, it is not a conspiracy, there never was a conspiracy, take your meds and jump back down your comfy little rabbit hole.

    November 11, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  22. us_1776

    Everybody involved in this situation is a Republican:


    Be careful what you wish for Peter.


    November 11, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  23. No longer feeding the beast

    Petreaus can still be subpoenaed regardless of whether he has left office or not. He should testify unless of course the administration has something to hide. After all, the president vowed he would have the most transparent administration ever. It didn't turn out that way with even less transparency than W.

    But instead, O and his media lapdogs will sweep it all under the rug, claim this is another conspiracy and Americans will continue to die at the hands of terrorists on his watch just as they did at Fort Hood, Benghazi and Saint Louis. But oh, I forgot! the president already won the war on terror. He had to, so he could have the time to wage his war on the productive members of our society en route to his dream of equal outcomes and dependency.

    Hopefully, those with any wealth left will get it out of the US before it is confiscated. Everyone with an income over 100k should stop buying anything but essentials, sell off their US investments and get their assets out of the reach of the new republik...

    November 11, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  24. george betw

    Don't give us that cover story of an affair, and an email from some anonymous person being tracked by the FBI, there is something big going on and my guess is once Petraeus gets cornered even more with the investigation he's gonna have an "accident." This is almost as phoney as the story about the "Innocent of Muslims" movie starting the attack in Libya on 9/11/12. I can't believe people actually think this is the truth!

    November 11, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  25. DaddyMac

    I think people are also ignoring the pledge for a transparent presidency......apparently everything will not be transparent. Instead of focusing on JOBS, this POTUS still wants to tax the rich. For all you Obama minions, these evil companies that dont pay enough are funded by banks, who are also evil, and investors, who are usually wealthy. But let's make it "fair" because those who work and paytheir bills should also support those who mooch off the system. Not 47% idiots, but if you want to be real about it, probably at least 1/4 of those are mooching off the system.

    November 11, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
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