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. tirel brooks

    and why wouldnt he still be required to testify???? something smells fishy here folks!

    November 11, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  2. mom4change

    Where is Bernstein and Woodward when you need them!

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

    I'm not interested in the affair. I actually don't understand why he is apologizing to the American public–first of all, he needs to apologize to his wife. Secondly, it's none of our business. I could very well see him stepping down publicly due to "personal, family matters." Thanks, Petaeus. I'm sure your wife is loving you for telling everyone you cheated on her.
    If there was a breach of security THAT is what needs to be focused on and THAT is the only thing I am halfway interested in. If the other women are involved somehow their involvement with the breach and the information leaked needs to be the focus, not how they got in his pants. That's just my humble opinion.

    November 11, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. Steve S

    Business as usual for the GOP.

    November 11, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  5. Go Away King

    No one wants to hear it.

    November 11, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  6. DrJ

    Isn't it surprising...if you get on Pete King's website, the "feature video" is a piece from Fox News.....Bought and paid for methinks. It is just articles like this that are fodder for that pariicular "news agency". I guess I would take this clown seriously if he had Gen. Petraeus's record of service to country...but he doesn't. .

    November 11, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. lloyd roberts

    Just trying to cause a little trouble, cause that's his job. Didn't he support terrorists, I think the IRA if I'm not mistaken

    November 11, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. lbpaulina

    Commenting questions such as Robert's ones:
    The FBI often investigates the threatening emails, above all when they regard a CIA director and his entourage. Actually, FBI investigates more Emails than you believe; maybe yours too. I read a different news on a European newspaper though. It seems that it is Broadwell's husband that sent an Email to the FBI informing them about the affair.
    I do not know if it is true, but this is what I read.
    No comment on King, because he is biased as usual.

    November 11, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  9. Ken

    Oh Good Grief!!! ANOTHER conspiracy!!!! When do you quit being so paranoid????

    November 11, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. DP

    There they go again – I just love it when Republicans are digging a bigger and bigger hole to do a "self service burying" of themselves and their party. I talked to a lot of friends, and one of the reasons that they did NOT vote Republican is that the party is completely off base, distracted and not focused on the issues of the middle class. Benghazi and Petraeus, while important, will not solve the financial issues of our country.

    November 11, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. Ellen

    So this very famous Republican leader disgraces himself, his family, his friends, his co workers so that he can help Obama??????? Yeah right.

    November 11, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. shipatc

    This is a damn tragedy for The General, his family, and the Army. Who knows where this all will go, whether it will give rise to yet another distracting political mud fight and whether The General should have tendered his resignation – no matter what else might be said, he was extraordinarily good at what he did. At times like this I am reminded of a 2004 Newsweek article addressing a trend in children's books to treat the foibles of historical figures in a much more open manner. The article noted:
    " . . . Reading about imperfections of famous people gives youngsters more freedom to dream of what they might accomplish. . . . It's important for children to know that their heroes were real people. . . . How do you emulate perfect?"
    The article concludes, " … A less than perfect hero - that's the real story. …"

    November 11, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. John

    General Petraeus is going to persecuted in the media, he has voluntarily resigned his position, all this for having an affair. YET Eric Holder our "supposed" Attorney General is not even bothered now for his roll in the murder of Boarder Patrol agent. What a crock, what a travesty of justice. Holder and his cronies should be held responsible for what the "Fast and Furious" fiasco has done!!!!

    November 11, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. mainecnn

    Behind every successful man there are few women.

    November 11, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. Richard Braswell

    So it was a fit of conscience? Where was the FBI when Gen. Sinclair was raping his way around AStan? Does Kip Ward have the same sense of honor described by JG51? I could care less about Rep. King, but, this makes no sense. What a kludge.....

    November 11, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. cransten modevil

    similiarly, eric holder didnt have to testify either during the fast n furious hearings after POTUS came down with the executive order to protect the real truth from getting out...their is no transparency at all with this administration, only massive cover-ups...

    November 11, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. DR

    OK, we got it. It doesn't add up to you. Now, fix the stupid economy, will you? Deal with this in January or February. Get your priorities straight.

    November 11, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. wwf

    If it was Karl Rove or Dick Chenny, the Rep. would not be saying a word. Oh. Forgot. We have been there before and they did not say anything then. Pays to walk on water.

    November 11, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. Newtonslaw

    Republican King is just looking for headlines and a way to discredit Obama again. Any scratch of conspiracy he can come up with, even if he has to create it, he feels will somehow help his alarmist agenda. The guy had an affair, he resigned, what else do you want, his first born?

    November 11, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  20. DocWindprod

    King should discuss this with Cantor, who admits knowing about this for more than a month (and was probably simply protecting one of "their own"). Get over it, Peter.

    November 11, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. Texas

    Attention Republicans..what is done is DONE. Forget about this side show and solve the government's budget problems first.

    November 11, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  22. Keyser

    What doesn't add up to King is that no one has asked for his opinion in over three weeks. The conspiracy he wants to investigate is the one where there are no headlines with his name in them.

    November 11, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  23. Terry

    Its all a cover up leading to a public scapegoat for the Libya incident were this administration left people to die. Mark my words this affair will play the central part in what happened there and no one else will be held accountable. Government at its best!

    November 11, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  24. Brian

    If King wants to conduct a thorough investigation, he should do it around money that comes from the US to Ireland, to back Sinn Fein and the IRA. Oh wait, that would mean that he'd be guilty. My bad.

    November 11, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  25. Facts don't Lie

    if there is a chance to get a real good conspiracy going out of this and better yet a chance to somehow implicate the president in it...this King is one of the guys to do it.

    November 11, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
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