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. Rensalier

    Not sure about the conspiracy theories being floated around out there but this case is very interesting. If the statement below is true, who is the other woman that's "close" to Petraeus? Why didn't she go to him and ask him to talk to Broadwell. Seems like he could have pressured her to stop. Was she another lover?

    Regardless, he exercised extremely poor judgement even though he was, at one point, a very good general. With a person in such a sensitive position we need someone who has their head screwed on straight given eveyrthing that is swirling around out there. He was thinking with a part of his body other than his brain. He needed to go.

    "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."

    November 11, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. Dr. Venkman

    The House and Senate can subpoena anyone they like. The process isn't bound to judicial process. Patraeus' employment status is irrelevant.

    November 11, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  3. Big man

    Who cares if he is having an affair. As long as he didn't give her insight into gov secrets it's doesn't matter. She isn't military so it doesn't go against good order and discipline. Why does the military try to screw people over by digging into their lives. You can be be openly gay now...fine but god forbid anyone falter. They are two consenting adults, change the rules

    November 11, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. Eli

    I proudly voted for the president twice but if an FBI investigation into the director of the CIA in which the director's capability to lead has been potentially compromised doesn't rise to a level to be shared with the Senate and House intel committees then what does?

    These committees in particular take their responsibilities very seriously and are even sworn to not disclose or leak information. It was clear Senator Feinstein was made aware of this matter at the same time as everyone else: on Friday through the media. As an American first and liberal second, I find that to be disconerting at best and unconscienable at worst. As an Obama supporter I must say something in this matter is starting to smell funny.

    November 11, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. Pat

    OMG Rep. King discovers yet another cover up, scandal, mystery......in the Obama administration that he can't quite figure out? Rep. King needs to start using the brains god gave him and stop spouting off to the press every time he thinks something is a puzzle. It ain't a puzzle, my friend, it is biology, and honor at work against one another. So it goes. A great leader has fallen. A woman has lost her way. Two careers are wrecked. Not a happy ending.

    November 11, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. Crazy Republicans Never Stop

    Exactly how does it fit crazed right-wing Benghazi conspiracy theories that Petraeus confessed to an extra-marital affair? Did Obama use the M.I.B. gun to rewrite his memories?

    November 11, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. Double Standard

    I guess it's ok for the President to have an affair and then lie about it to the public, however, felt no need to step down.

    November 11, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. DC603

    I can't believe everyone's still making this about his affair. The affair, whether true or not, is a cover. The timing is awfully suspect.

    November 11, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. lobo joe

    Ah yes, Rep King and the ever popular conspiracy theory. I suspect he might be more at home if he ran in Mississippi or Alabama where he could openly champion his real hero, Nathan Bedford Forest

    November 11, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    the only good news from this election...is now we know we only have four more years of this clown...if we are not owned by China by then

    November 11, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  11. shindigg

    another nothng subject they are trying to make a stink about and forcing the compliant corporate media to go along covering this nonesense because the reich wing media wants to use it to make polticial hay...keep it up republicons, keept it up.

    November 11, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. Patrick

    And now Hillary says she can't testify because "her schedule is too busy".

    The hits just keep on coming ................

    November 11, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. JOHN

    Geee...shock, another cover up by obama and his socialist lefty loon cronies.

    November 11, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. buffalojon

    Since when does an extra-marital affair interfere with the career of a politician or cabinet member?

    November 11, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  15. Whatever

    I think people have been watching too many "spy" movies. Conspiracies around every corner. Sometimes the story is the story and that's it. 4 star general Petraeus admits affair with Paula Broadwell after keeping it secret for the past few months. As someone said on the news recently, "bad news does not get better with time". The biographer, I think was ambitious and Petraeus was intrigued with her. time spent together, far away from home...conect the dots, people. It's a story as old as human history itself. Tragic for both families, but it is what it is....

    November 11, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  16. Stephen Daugherty

    It's interesting that so many conservatives just say "there must be something covered up", rather than saying there was a coverup, say, because something shocking was revealed, as well as efforts to keep it concealed.

    But I guess if your standard for criticizing the President is that he simply be there at all, you can basically twist the meanings of words until the very English language is crying in pain. There is evidence that the story developed as people investigated further, but no evidence something was concealed.

    November 11, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  17. shindigg

    another nothng subject they are trying to make a stink about and forcing the compliant corporate media to go along covering this nonesense because the reich wing media wants to use it to make some kind of whacked-out polticial hay...keep it up republicons, keep it up.

    November 11, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  18. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Perhaps he was trying to avoid being blackmailed by Republicans and came out instead....

    November 11, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. JohnBorg

    Remember when the Republicans nominated John McCain in 2008? Wow. McCain is such a respectable character. I didn't vote for him because I disagreed with his views, but he is a humble, wise, and respectable character. The GOP has turned extremist in the past four years. Rep. King is just the next one in the wave of crazies.

    November 11, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. well

    neo-cons lost the election to neo-libs. betrayus is a neo-con. he lost his job the day after election. the end. now is the time for 99% to send your kids to new wars as well as old ones. you voted for them.

    November 11, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  21. jimmy

    You will never get a honest answer out of Washington D. C. .Anything with the term "Federal" attached to it cannot be trusted by the American people.Individual states will have to fight back against Federal tyranny using the tenth amendment.If that does not work then they will resort to armed conflict.It has happened before.

    November 11, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  22. PhilipCNN

    Can't help but notice the timing of his resignation and the FBI's notification to the SIC...after the election or essentially after it (5 PM election night). But I'm sure the FBI wasn't politically influenced. Note the position of the involved powers-that-be in the FBI today and their positions by the end of the current administration. Might be rather interesting...as well as informative.

    November 11, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. Dave

    Let's look at this with some perspective. If he was sleeping with an enemy spy...well, that's serious. A little hanky-panky with a fellow officer...so what? If this happened in France he would probably get a medal.

    November 11, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  24. Asturiano

    Peter King was never known for his mathematical skills

    November 11, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. BGI3023

    There is no reason to see a conspiracy here. If Petraeus is a material witness or has knowledge of important facts on the Benghazi issue, he will still be called to testify. Him stepping down doesn't change that. People who are saying that this is to get out of testifying clearly do not understand the legal system. And if evidence shows that he acted wrongly, he can still be punished after stepping down whether he testifies or not. So if you think that he is making up a story that disgraces him and possibly destroys his marriage just to avoid testifying on something that almost certainly could not get him in any real trouble other than maybe getting fired, you're probably letting your bias control your logic.

    November 11, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
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