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. ficheye

    "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." No, that's not all you are saying. There's still some nuts in the bowl. That's all I'M saying.

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

    This guy King is like a mad dog with a chew toy. His speaking privileges should be revoked.

    November 11, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. sbreez

    someone wake me up when a republican actually says or does something that might solve or alleviate a problem rather then creating them. the GOP has become an absolute nightmare for this country

    November 11, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Andrew

    Neither does Peter King's absurd paranoia about Islamic Extremism. That cranium isn't the place for real math.

    November 11, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Chuck Hendrix

    King is little more than another ignorant mouth piece of the Republican Party. He relishes in making unfounded accusation to remain in the media spotlight. He is a total moron.

    Aug 3 Claim Syria Rebel Aid Leak came from White House
    Sep 17 Accused Obama of going on an "Apology Tour"
    Sep 28 Calls for Rice to resign as U.N Ambassador
    Oct 4 Accused Obama of lying about purchase of Illinois prison. Claimed it would be used to house terrorist suspects.
    Oct 20 Claimed Obama was involved in a cover-up of Benghazi
    Nov 11 Claims cover-up bu Obama on Petraeus issue.

    Give me a freaking break. Not a single claim by this ignorant buffoon has been substantiated. Even a simple minded sock puppet can see he is simply saying anything that pops into his empty head to oppose Obama.

    November 11, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. James D

    We need Petraeus to testify. We need the most senior remaining member of the Libyan embassy to testify. We need the mistress to testify, and the biographer and the lead member of the FBI team. But these are all the usual suspects. Hilary Clinton needs to testify too. I am not sure what's going on, but the American people need to know whats up.

    November 11, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. Mark

    Of course Congress can subpoena him. King likes to leave that part out because it makes his outrage al the more geniuine-seeming.

    November 11, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Tom Arnold

    They trew him under the bus to protect the Messiah in Chief. The whole thing stinks all the way up to the Whitehouse.

    November 11, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Obama thinks he won a mandate, he didn't

    The Obama administration was very careful to obfuscate when it came to anything that might have been a problem during the election. Despite that, things leaked out about the Libyan affair. I see it now the administration is still playing games.

    November 11, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. FM

    Another conspiracy theorist. Wonder if he's a Republican!

    November 11, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. mork

    Cmon. Drama fest. Just because a 4 star general is banging some slots on the side does not mean he's revealing sensitive information to them!! He's not the first rock star to want some nookie on the side.

    November 11, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. Chuck

    Ask Nixon and Clinton if you can get away with fooling the public

    November 11, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. 8005551212

    How does a man who has had a governnment security detail watching him for years have an affair and others in the government are not aware of it? David Petraeus has been watched US security teams 7×24 for years, and security personnel didn't know he was sleeping around? If they didn't then how effective is US provided security? If his security team did know, why didn't they report it immediately?

    November 11, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. LiberalLarry

    The country has spoken, we don't give a crap about what people are doing in their private lives, no reason for him to resign over this, if anything he should get a high 5 from congress if the woman is hot. Morality has no place in government. A good man has gone down.

    November 11, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. banlarson

    He resigned because he was going to tell the truth about Benghazi and the Obama admin made an ultimatum to either tell a lie or get fired. He chose the honorable path and resigned. Obama is less interested in doing the right thing than he is in protecting his image. Of course liberals will follow him blindly off a cliff...a fiscal cliff.

    November 11, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. AngieS

    And yet Cantor knew back in Oct. even talked to the whistleblower apparently. Why didn't he tell King or, for that matter, anyone else in Congress? Or did he and they're covering for him. Intel has Stevens brokering heavy arms to Syrian rebels out of Benghazi via the CIA when he was killed. Where's the REAL scandal here? I'm thinking it may not be in the White House but, rather, in a different House altogether...you know exactly which House I mean...

    November 11, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. David

    More Republican partisanship of not wanting to deal with the real issues at hand. Instead, they want to focus on non-issues. There is a sizable proportion of republicans that STILL believe Obama has a fake birth certificate...look at how long "that was the issue".

    November 11, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. Opal

    Of course it does not add up. It is all part of the Benghazi cover-up.

    November 11, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. Charles Huckeby

    The GOP hasn't given up on trying to cause some demacratic scandal and put themselves in the limelite.Just ask this civil question,who really cares about yes a senseless killing of americans in Libya. Those people who take those kind of jobs know there is a chance of a lot od danger.Aid was in route to their relief,but didn't get there in time,but was able to help them when they got to them at another location. AND for as the security britch by the General letting happen because he and a friend had a thing. He is a decarated Genera,not someone to put the country at risk and she also had a securityclerance.

    November 11, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  20. Kuron

    Our country has far more serious problems right now caused by obstructionism. There will be plenty of time for you detractors to spew your conspiracy theories *AFTER* we resolve the fiscal cliff. President Obama cannot run again and with the Senate in the hands of the Democrats, you aren't going to be able to impeach him either like the Republicans tried with Clinton, so get over it already!

    November 11, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  21. lct1119

    Here we go again. The republicans chewing on a bone to create a blame game to the Democrats....specifically Obama.
    Could we all be civil and TRY to actually do something to benefit this country? IS that NOT possible???????
    Shut up all of you!!!!!!!! v Do something decent unless decency is not in your volcabulary. Apparently it is not sad that that is for us peasants in the hinterlands.
    Too bad that Washington DC did not get swamped in Nancy. Maybe we would be all better off if the nation's capitol was in Omaha. Nebraska.

    November 11, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  22. Commonsense

    Eric Cantor withheld the investigation for political gain. Eric Cantor tried to blackmail Petraeus to disgrace President Obama as a false whistleblower. Petraeus did not spread false information about the President so Eric Cantor leaked the affair.

    November 11, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. akork

    Why do we care again? I mean that in the broadest sense possible. Why does having an extramarital affair matter to us so much that we would require a successful 4-star generals resignation from his directorship of the C.I.A.? Seriously is that somehow comprimising his ability to handle the intelligence. Shouldn't we care more about not mixing up leadership in our primary source of foreign intelligence before we care about who so and so is boning? Really people lets get our priorities straight here.

    November 11, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  24. Win Adams

    Perhaps he needs to speak to Eric Cantor, house majority leader. It has been reported that he knew about it for the last several weeks and had discussed it with one of the FBI investigators. So apparently, the Republicans knew about it.

    November 11, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. Al

    Obama's part of the coverup. Eliminate the witness to be able to testify !!!

    November 11, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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