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. Tim

    And here we....go

    November 11, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  2. Sophia

    I am asian and living in asia. We have seen all kinds of leaders and politicians. Alot of things happen and are covered up from public. Your system is the envy of the world with splendid checks and balances. Politicial leaders with power can easily throw people off track with deceptive schemes and lies. Let there be challenges and probings..let evil doers be exposed.

    November 11, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. atl1125

    I just think it's ironic that the name of the book is "All in"

    November 11, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. JG51

    As a lifelong military man, General Petraeus is bound by a moral code of honor that he willingly admitted dishonoring and volunteered to resign as director of the CIA. To go back and forth in the media questioning the timing is irrelevant at this point. If there are any unresolved questions regarding who initiated the investigation and why, it would seem to make more sense to look at the two female parties involved, one of which has a newly released book which I sincerely hope no one will purchase and further discredit her character. I feel that we owe the Petraeus family the time and privacy they deserve in order to attempt to heal and move on with their personal lives.

    November 11, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. captainfantastic

    many things don't add up for King.........always the alarmist and cynic....grow up

    November 11, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. teddyg

    Rep Peter King sees conspiracies everywhere. I wonder how the guy can close his eyes at night.

    November 11, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  7. letsbereal

    Lets make this REAL easy, "Petraeus got caught"..."Petraeus will step down"...Petreaeus and home wreaker will pay dearly"...HEY... it's Pizza-Time,

    November 11, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. Yosemite Sam

    "The committees are required to be kept informed of significant intelligence activities," the aide said Saturday.


    Ah yes, titillating juicy inquiries need to fast tracked to the committee so they can adequately plan how to politically exploit these events. The congressman should be ashamed of himself.

    November 11, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. Enough

    Rep. King we have more important things to do. Please stop being so petty. The General was your darling prior to the 2008 election and now you want to drag his name, family and reputation into the mud further. Grow up and stop acting like a spoiled child. CNN please stop giving guys like this headlines. It diminishes your credibility.

    November 11, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. vic , nashville ,tn

    Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Herman Cain gave first victory to Obama in 2012
    Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock gave the senate to Democrats
    Allen West, Michele Bachmann, Joe Walsh….. Crazy talks gave House democrats more the popular votes

    SO Stop the crazy talks

    November 11, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. Tre

    Since when does the FBI investigate harassing emails emails? Not threatening emails. Harassing emails. I doubt if the police in most cities would even be interested. It wasn't until later that the connection to Patraeus was discovered. Definitely something strange going on here.

    November 11, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. ZoeyJ

    More roll off drama from the election. News media must keep the drama up

    November 11, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. Tom

    Rep. King's only job seems to be whining for attention.

    November 11, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. Gregory Faith

    I still want to know what he knew about what happened in Bengazi regardless that he had an affair. He's human and obviously, not perfect.

    November 11, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. Good Grief!

    Give it up! Nothing adds up for a republican!

    November 11, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. john truthseed

    This sounds like it was planned, people in those positions don't self-incriminate themselves through emails, especially if those emails are to people that they have beef with. It could be a legal move to avoid being under oath if it were to appear he had something to do with the embassy attack, or it could be a silent coup d'CIA. Let us not forget the leader of the CIA is a footstep away from the leader of the USA, just ask George H. W. Bush.

    November 11, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. Now you figure it out?

    Do these republicans want another impeachment trial? Are they wanting to enter the 2014 campaigns being known as the party that spent more time in hearings about false rumors than the economy? Do it.. just keep it up.. give Obama 2 years of full reign.. oh wait.. if Obama is impeached.. President Biden has full control... go for it republicans.

    November 11, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. steve

    All these posts complaining about this representative. Do your job? IT IS this man's job. As per the FIRST sentence in the article – The top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee. THIS IS his job. Since the FBI is under the auspices of homeland security now, it is this representaives DUTY to assure OVERSIGHT of anything under DHS. Sheesh.
    Oh and John Tighe, remember Libya? Remember how our own Federal Govt helped out the movement there? Do you remember that Al Qaeda raised a flag over one of the Embassy there? Hmm. you got a gripe this guy helped IRA, well my friend, our own government helped AL Qaeda in Libya, and is FUNDING them in Syria. GG on being a sheep.

    November 11, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  19. Keane

    King: You're a public servant, paid to be useful. NOW GET TO WORK ON THE ECONOMY!!!! Try working on your legacy rather than your public record of lunacy.

    November 11, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  20. Criminy

    Hummm – It seems the Republicans don't do anything but whine, cry, and complain about anything that doesn't promote their party. To me, that is spending too much time on the wrong thing. It doesn't matter who the guy is... what matters is his lack of honest ethics in a position that requires the utmost security and honesty. Put someone in the job who can handle it that way.

    November 11, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  21. LouAZ

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools speak because they have to say something." Anon

    November 11, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  22. whatahit

    You seem to forget that half of the country thinks Obama is NOT doing a good job. The rest are Kool-Aid drinkers. Obama said he was going to have the most transparent administration in history, not true. From the get-go he sneaks things through by going around Congress with an executive order...immigration, health care, debt, foreign relations. It's not surprising that he continues to believe that he is King and can do anything he wants. He manipulated the Benghazi terrorist attack until after the election; he did the same with Petreus, but not releasing the information until after the elction. That, too, was a very serious breach of national security. Makes you wonder what else he has going on...

    November 11, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  23. Barentw

    King is a terrorist-supporting (as long as they're Irish terrorists) ass-clown who should be rotting in Gitmo, and it's a travesty that there are Americans somewhere who keep voting for him (hopefully Sandy wiped some of them out).

    November 11, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  24. true justice

    We know:
    It was a cover-up Chicago Style.
    She works for Mossad and she is a Completely Useless Nothing Twit..
    The US Press will give its normal Affirmative Action protection to Obama.
    Obama and the little general allowed 4 Americans to die so the could attend Social Functions
    Congress will Wimp out and fail to do their duty.
    The worthless traitors will never be held accountable.
    Te Butcher of Benghazi will continue to destroy America.

    November 11, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. Charles

    Same old story, Rep. Peter King and his cronies continue to attack anyone that is not in their clan. The Republicans would rather see the country burn than to have a a successful Democrat as president.

    Just keep digging your hole.

    November 11, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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