November 11th, 2012
10:42 AM ET
5 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. Harley Leiber

    King? Sour grapes. looking for anything to go after Obama on. The General made a mistake. Ruined his marriage....enough said. he quit. move on.

    November 11, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  2. NameRusira

    First of all, we have yet to ascertain that any classified information was in fact made privy to the female in question. The questions and allegations raised by this article are therefore moot. Again the Republicans are grasping at straws and sensationalizing . You a landslide....focus on the shortcomings of your party and stop attempting to lay the blame elsewhere.

    November 11, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. Dennis

    Someone should sell foil hats on-line so Republicans could protect themselves from the conspiracies with flair.

    November 11, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  4. KC Yankee

    The work of being a partisan hack is long and arduous. This man may have to devote years and lots of taxpayers' money to the pursuit of conspiracies, the invention of which will help him and his colleagues continue to hobble the president and make sure that nothing of benefit to the American people gets done in the next four years.

    November 11, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  5. charles

    Who cares if Petreus had an affair, people are really suffering in this country, we have far greater issues to deal with than to be wasting time & tax payers money investigating an affair that don't have nothing to do with us. That's between him & his wife & the woman he messed with, let them deal with it. Let's get back to the things that do matter, like someone said the economy, people don't know how they're going to eat tomorrow. Why don't people grow up, nobody cares about this, except someone who has too much time on their hands!

    November 11, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. Hillcrester

    Peter King is a persistent loose cannon. His witch-hunts "just don't add up."

    November 11, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Interestingly sad

    Funny how Dems and Republicans brought Nixon to testify about a campaign break in but so many people here don't care about the truth about a terrorist attack on 9/11 that killed 4 Americans. I'm saddened by the change in this country and news media. (And I consider myself liberal.)

    November 11, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |

    I love to watch this guy on TV. Bluster and fluster and he is a good example of EAST COAST BABY TALK, can barely understand a word he says. Who does he think he is and why does he think the FBI has to put him on speed dial. When are the constituants of these idiots going to start asking them to represent them and work for the people who elected them. Why is it that every Republican is auditioning for a spot of FOX/MOX NEWS??

    November 11, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. lisequinn

    Always gotta have a conspiracy, there was no 'danger' to the country. There would be if this hadn't come out, because it could be used to blackmail and manipulate.
    It was something as old as time and as simple – an affair.

    November 11, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. sickofmandate

    mcskadittle. You seem to miss that the Republicans won the House. Maybe you are unaware of how our government works. The President s not the King, but 1/3 of our government. Get over it, the people of our country voted on November 6th that they were satisifed with how our country was being run, however inefficiently it is. The President has no more of a mandate than the House of Representatives does. If people were sick of the log jam, they should have elected a republican President and Congress, or a Democratic President and Congress. They didn't. Hence., we will continue to have a stalemate.

    November 11, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. clark1g

    maybe you wouldn't tell the President ... but "The committees are required to be kept informed of significant intelligence activities," ... so why are Democrats so stupid as to not be able to figure out why the President and the Congress should be asking why they weren't told earlier?

    November 11, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. Jason

    Nothing adding up lately for Rep. King. He's got a math problem.

    November 11, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  13. JJ

    Sad ending for a bright guy.
    The story REALLY doesn't add up.
    I hope he intends on testifying.............

    November 11, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. vulpecula

    they were not directly investigating Petraus, they were investigating the woman and the threats she had made to another woman when this was discovered.

    November 11, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  15. MAK

    So how many other people are thinking "Spies like us"?

    November 11, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. BullSeye58

    If the head of the CIA is in danger of being blackmailed, the President should know. Period. The notion that he didn't know until election night is either a fabrication or further evidence of stunning incompetence in his administration.

    November 11, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. Gone

    Seem that King has too much time on his hands. Find something for him to do – go to NJ has get you hands dirty and help some people who are hurting. Or is that beneath you dignity.

    November 11, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  18. well

    neo-cons lost the election to neo-libs. betrayus is a neo-con. betrayus lost his job. questions?

    November 11, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. Name Beach

    Sorry about the General. Served under him in Iraq. He's a good man!

    November 11, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  20. CCC

    Robert Menendez is the junior US Senator from New Jersey, not New York.

    November 11, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  21. Nameadam

    its interesting how the GOP is treating this issue as a concpiracy theory, but the public is not suppose to think of Sept. 11 as such.

    November 11, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  22. Arnold from Boston

    Please stop the partisan comments. The WSJ is reporting:

    "The top Senate Democrat on intelligence issues said Sunday she would investigate the Federal Bureau of Investigation's handling of the inquiry into Central Intelligence Agency chief David Petraeus, including why top lawmakers weren't informed of the investigation before it became public.

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), the chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said on Fox News Sunday that the question would be part of a congressional inquiry to begin with hearings this week. "We received no advance notice," said Ms. Feinstein, referring to her and other lawmakers on the committee. "It was like a lightning bolt.""

    November 11, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. bruce

    So, let's be really clear here. This "rep" is angry because his team might have been able to use any dirt they could pin on the administration to better their chances in the election... I sincerely doubt that any other consideration comes in to play. Teardown, treardown, teardown! The entire process of politics is sickening... I thing it was an ancient Greek philosopher that once said "under every rock, you will find a politician." How true...

    November 11, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  24. heeey

    Not good when the head of the CIA can't keep an undercover operation secret !!!

    November 11, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  25. TommyTT

    Still refighting the election? I'm trying to imagine Rove finding out this information before a Republican incumbent's election and not sitting on it and... oops, nope, can't imagine it.

    November 11, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
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