November 11th, 2012
10:42 AM ET
2 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. Anonymous

    Did Clinton resign after it was discovered he had an affair? This is about something much bigger going on here.

    November 11, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  2. Pete

    Well, the Repubs just cannot accept defeat. They must continue to argue anything they can dream up.

    November 11, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. SamuraiCowboy

    "Benghazzi! Benghazi! Benghazi!" Get use to it people. The right is going to bring that up every time becuse they can,t win on substance.

    November 11, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. Distraction

    Good lord, anyone who has served in the miilitary or have gone to a country such as Libya get all types of warning regarding their safety and precautions they need to take on a daily basis. There should have been no need for any additional warning, it's unfortunate and horrible event but everyone involved knew it was possible. Congress needs to spend time on better issues than undressing an already disgraced general just to distract from a political loss they are wholly responsible.

    November 11, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. RoadFork

    Personally, I think that if someone who has access (women) to our powers that be (men,usually), and compromise security of this nation through inappropriate behavior (affair, email access)....they (women, usually), should be considered a criminal and charged with espionage. Until more is done about infidelity, we will continue to have this type of "rodent" behavior in trickling down from the upper ceiling. The Broadwells' and Lewinskis' of this country should be ashamed!

    November 11, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. Scott in Texas

    WOW............These conservatives today........... they just can't figure anything out and everything is a mystery to them. Most things make sense to me, but then I'm not a conservative.

    November 11, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. plain&simple

    Is this the first time in history a man in a position of power has been brought down by an affair? Didn't think so!!! Somethings don't change when you are human.....so he held others to a high standard that he failed to uphold himself. He did the proper thing ....life goes on.

    November 11, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. Settle down

    Settle down anti Obama people. I am sure if King and others really want to talk to the general they will get to either voluntarily or by other means at their disposal so why don't you quit making it all kinds of things in your heads. This kind of oh my God I bet this and I bet that stuff about Obama has gone on enough times and each time it is nothing that you all hoped for and you should be embarrassed.

    Quit with the Al Qaeda is growing stronger because Obama so weak, My God he has had more of them killed in the last two years than all of the previous administrations years. They are on the run and know as evidenced by us killing Bin Laden the guy responsible for killing over 3000 Americans that Obama is not weak and is not playing around, he has many teams of great elite forces out there right now hunting. Mitt Romney in third debate even tried to paint the president as killing to many without talking and reaching out to make friends in the region – talking about terrorism and the reasons for it Romney said "You can't Kill your way out it Mr. President".

    I am glad that all you ultra conservatives are concerned about the 4 Americans killed, I sure wish you showed the same concern about going into Iraq before we did and after we found there was no WMD at which point about 1000 Americans were killed I wish you would have voiced your concern vehemently to make Bush explain and not just accept the Bush duh uh uh we went because of Al Qaeda there excuse, then after 2000 or so were killed and we found out the Al Quaeda was a lie also where were you with your demand answers and how about when soldiers were dying or being crippled by roadside bombs that blasted right threw their armored vehicle that Haliburton supplied and was supposed to armor properly where was your outrage your demand an investigation Haliburton had to go back an up armor hundreds of vehicles after many were crippled for life or dead. How about when Haliburton subsidiary KBR built shoddy barracks in Iraq and soldiers got electrocuted in the shower, where was your outrage demand investigation, where was Fox news? how about Limbaugh not a peep. Patriots LOL

    November 11, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  9. steve

    As Menedez said " it's clear" but he left only if you are not a paranoid, right wingnut who is bitter about the election.

    November 11, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  10. hugo

    republicans are so paranoid

    November 11, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. dhall148

    Wah, wah, wah...Do the Republicans EVER stop their whining? I guess not. They can't stand that the American voters once again chose the best leader. They will never accept a fair vote. Instead, they feel they must dig up dirt that isn't there. They use every chance possible to invent "scenarios"' thinking that it will turn the tide in their favor. This is just another example. Sheesh! Pipe down already. The President heads the Executive branch of our government, How can Congress become so confused about that??? Hey lawmakers, make the laws, don't attempt to take control of the law enforcement arm. simple, huh? Well, it's simple of you voted Democrat. Evidently, it's very, very complicated with Republicans. Wah, wah, wah.

    November 11, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. Snarks

    Another obama cover up and the liberals won't call their messiah out on it. Patreus told you all that he didn't tell troops to back down from protecting our ambassador, that means obama did. liberals are insane lunatics.

    November 11, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  13. garwin1

    Isn't the Benghazj obsession website over at Faux?

    November 11, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  14. RainCityLady

    Red Pison....YOU need a break from spy novels and James Bond movies. Maybe you can collaborate with Tom Clancy on his next book. Oh my God, you have drunk the poison, Pison.

    November 11, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  15. votrechien

    what's the surprise here? Of course they're not going to release something like this on the day of the election and potentially have an election swung by something that has nothing to do with either candidate.

    November 11, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. Jim Peters

    How come King does not have questions for why Cheney went from Halliburton to VP then pushed us into war with Iraq....greatly benefiting Halliburton?

    November 11, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  17. calvin

    If anyone believes that Petraeus resigned as director of the CIA just because of an affair, then I have a bridge I want to sell you. You don't get to that post and then resign because you're cheating on your wife. Granted, yes, the man misbehaved in his personal life, but wake up, folks, this was the director of intelligence in this country. He's using the affair as an excuse. There has to be a much more serious reason.

    November 11, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. marilyn

    FOX and FRIENDS are hunting for an impeachable offense. Once, shame on them. Twice, shame on us for letting it happen. Stay alert.

    November 11, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  19. Lawless4U

    Why is there any investigation? What was the alleged crime? He's a lousy husband.........case closed.

    November 11, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  20. garwin1

    Benghazi is a conspiracy with the Russians, Chinese, and two or three other interplanetary lifeforms who are trying to corner the market on ........................peanut butter. But not the extra crunchy kind.

    November 11, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  21. NoTags

    Maybe I missed it somewhere, but has Petraeus stated he wouldn't testify? Surely, Petraeus wasn't the only one over at the CIA that knows what went on in Benghazi. If he is the only one that knows, then the CIA with all their manpower has serious problems.

    November 11, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  22. dbarber

    I am sick to death of Republicans' insistence on ignoring facts and their blatant hypocrisy. Another commenter noted this above, and it is absolutely true. At least 7 specific attacks on US Embassies took place during GW Bush's terms in office and in those attacks THIRTY TWO Americans were killed...and Repbulicans just gloss over it..."oh,we are at war and that is just what happens..." An attack takes place on Obama's watch and, "OH...it is a conspiracy, it is blatant mismanagement and incompetence and let's keep beating this topic to death until we are sure somebody admits it is all his fault!!" What if maybe, just maybe...because we live in a country obsessed with what goes on in every single public figure's bedroom, he simply resigned because this is going to create a mess and bad press and it ends up being the civilized way out.

    November 11, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. Booseyboo

    I am quite dumbfounded that some posts think that just because Petraeus has resigned that he doesn't have a moral and legal responsibility to testify. I, for one, am pleased with the election but I still want to know why Benghazi happened so it will not be repeated. We cannot learn from our mistakes if we do not acknowledge them.

    November 11, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  24. Tammy Lozano

    The chain of events is very clear. Republicans lost the election, the ones like King are more interested in slowing progress by promoting doubt and conspiracy theories. Keeping people divided. Why isnt King talking about the budget, jobs, healthcare, social security, improving foreign relations. Recall

    November 11, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  25. GB

    THE REPUBLICANS ARE AT IT AGAIN! I guess they will be losing the next election too and then wondering why....
    If they only cared one iota as much about all the Bush and Cheney lies that got us into the terrible war in Iraq where so many of our young soldiers were killed and horrendously injured. Was it the pretend "weapons of mass destruction" or was it for all the money Cheney could make (and steal) through Haliburton and his other companies that bilked the US out of fortunes for "re-building" Iraq with shoddy work or none at all????

    November 11, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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