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. sunshine

    so much bickering which gets us no where,sad.

    November 11, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. Sam

    King, ask your buddy E. Cantor he knew about it.

    November 11, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. akork

    He is the director of the C.I.A. His job is to keep secrets. Shouldn't we be commending him for managing to have an extramarital affair in secret for this long while being so much in the public eye?

    November 11, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. Smeagel4T

    I'm very amusing by how "American" many of the responses are. In France it often seems like the person is almost required to have a mistress before entering government. The "pontential compromise" doesn't actually some from strictly the affair itself. I'm not actually advocating this, but just consider something. If nobody actually cared about officials having mistresses, then the officials would not be worried about keeping the mistresses secret. If the mistress is entirely out in the open and everyone knows about the person, then there isn't much to be "compromised" over. For example, assume the official was single and started dating somebody. Nobody would view that as a "compromise" since the person the official was dating would be well known and investigated. A "mistress" is simply somebody a married man is dating. AGAIN, I don't really approve. But the fact remains that it is the necessity to keep the "dating" a secret that produces the compromise. Not the "dating" itself.

    November 11, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. Azrael

    Sounds like King has some valid points on the matter(i.e. the flow of an investigation on a potentially serious security problem and I'm not talking about bengahzi)..... And if the now former Director has some insight on the issue he should be testifying before congress........

    November 11, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. Dale

    The conspiracy theorists on here are entertaining to say the least. After loosing the election at least this gives them something to live for other than reruns of the Pelican Brief.

    November 11, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. joe

    Is it General Petraius or General Betray-us?????

    November 11, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Michael

    This is just Rep. King trying to convince the America people that the Republican Party still has some relevance after the pounding they just took in the election. Considering the sieve that is Washington politics, the moment that the FBI told anyone that they were investigating David Petraeus, guilty or not, an honorable man who served his country with distinction, but made a mistake, would have been ruined.

    November 11, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. Douglas

    I don't know what these idiots are talking about. If he had an affair so what? I heard there was shots fired in Washington on the street involving Petraeus and police or FBI. Now thats news worthy. What happened and why?

    November 11, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. Phoenixman

    four months to investigate? I don't know what Rep King is so upset about. That's pretty fast compared what it takes either the House or the Senate to get something completed.

    November 11, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. SokrMom

    It must be a vast left-wing conspiracy! I see we haven't got past the partisan nonsense...

    November 11, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. AK_steve

    So King supports wall street bailouts. Opposes main street bail outs. Votes against equal pay for women. Declares that 80% of mosque are run by terrorist. Wants to hold McCarthy-like hearing on the radicalization of Muslims. Defends earmarks while preaching fiscal conservatism. And on and on and on...

    So this fear mongering, Islamophobic, anti-gay, anti-woman, pro-wall street, anti-main street, pro-earmark bigot wants to question the integrity of an american hero who has the support from both sides of the aisle?

    And the GOP wonders why they lost the election??? Look in the freaking mirror you morons.

    November 11, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  13. JD543210

    Why is this topic about political parties. All those people that keep bringing up "GOP this and Democrate that" need to look past the election and all the BS that went with it by both parties. This is a subject of national security! Leave politics out of it. Do you have any idea what the Director of the CIA does and what he knows about our country. As for those that say don't blame Obama, He is Petraeus' boss and should be held accountable also. Democrate or not.

    November 11, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  14. John

    You're senators. You aren't that important. You may be on an Intelligence Committee, but you are not special agents, analysts, or investigators.

    November 11, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. james

    A matter of national security ? Some woman knows about an afffair...and it can bring the country down ? Smart of Obama or whomever to not tell the bloodsuckers in DC till needed,

    November 11, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  16. annieL

    A leading Republican knew about the affair before the election. Why didn't Cantor "out" Petraeous to embarrass Obama? All it would have taken is one anonymous phone call to a reporter. So why didn't he? Republicans are complicit in this sordid tale, too, I suspect.

    November 11, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  17. marty in MA

    Who cares about affairs? Monogamy is highly overrated and quite rare.

    November 11, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. FREEDOM

    @ Sophia – right on! The Obama administration believes in using its power to push its AGENDA through at the expense of this great country – which includes no transparency and weakening our National Security. ALL will be held accountable.

    November 11, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  19. Anthony... proud tax payer

    2002 U.S. Embassy Karachi, Pakistan: 10 killed, 51 injured
    2004 U. S. Embassy bombed in Uzbekistan: 2 killed, several injured.
    2004 U.S. Consulate Saudi Arabia: 8 killed
    2006 US. Embassy Syria: 1 killed, several injured
    2007 U.S. Embassy -Athens: building bombed with an anti-tank grenade...fortunately no one was in the building at the time.
    2008-U.S. Embassy – Serbia: 1 dead; Embassy set on fire
    2008- U. S. Embassy- Yemen- bombed 10 killed

    So the question I ask is..
    WHY ARE REPUBLICANS CRYING ABOUT THIS NOW???

    November 11, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  20. Nevis Mn

    King is upset because Cantor knew about it and didn't tell him. King sees a monster under every bed and makes himself a hero by protecting us from the boogie man.

    November 11, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  21. countmein

    Resigning over an affair in this day and age??? Makes no sense. More to this story. Feinsteins comment that this could have affected national security is a JOKE...His biographer was not a spy was she?

    November 11, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  22. Guest

    Hey, if Bill can do it in the white house, why not any Democrat!

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

    Considering the reason for the stepdown (or firing) isn't true, people (the sheep) will buy into it making even more sensational.

    If the public knew the actual reason, they would be aghast.

    November 11, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. ChiTownArt

    Obviously it doesn't add up to King. He is one in a long line of Republicans that have a problem with math.

    November 11, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Give it up Gopers. Petraeus, like so many other men - both Democrat and Republican alike - couldn't keep his zipper closed. It had nothing to do with Obama, Benghazi, or politics. The man held the highest position in the CIA and compromised himself by not showing very good judgement in his personal life leading to concerns - legitimate concerns - affecting his professional life. The only cover up was Petraeus thinking he could cover his affair up to begin with. And even then, he really wasn't very good covering up. All things considered, he wasn't CIA ready when he took that job.

    November 11, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
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