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. Joshua Ludd

    Yes, I mean the only way it could have been more convoluted and questionable would be if a independent investigator were basically given free reign to investigate any and everything they could find about someone in high office no matter how unrelated to their original mandate straying from investigating some sort of real estate deal that turned up nothing to investigating oral sex in a government office of some sort.

    November 11, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. Gena

    Perhaps the investigation should focus on Rep. King. Thou doth protest too much...

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

    CIA and the Embassy controversy should be shelved until the members of Congress do their job on the federal budget and tax revenue. No diversions please!!! Now get to WORK!

    November 11, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. captjoe

    thats the Republicants way. Always meddling in peoples lives. No wonder why they lose the election. impeach all this incompetents out of public office. General Petreaus is a honorable man.

    November 11, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  5. Leftcoastrocky

    King, republicans lost the presidential contest and as far as the electoral vote count goes, they lost it decisively. It truly is time to move on - and I don't mean from early November to late November, but from the 1950's to 2012.

    November 11, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    If an investigation is not yet complete, then by definition things don't "add up."

    What is with these Repubs and their knee-jerk response to try to politicize everything? Mittens and his reaction to Benghazi without knowing the facts ... King and his inflicting himself on all of us without knowing the facts ... Issa and Fast and Furious without calling key witnesses to get the facts ...

    There's a trend here and it plainly shows that Repubs would rather do anything other than actually working to HELP our country .... Pathetic!

    November 11, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. Katie

    This supposed "moral" code of the military or some parts of it is a paper code only. Plenty of military personnel cheat on their spouses, plenty of the males sexually assault the females, and plenty of them engage in domestic violence and this is especially true the higher the rank and more power is gained. I'm not sure which is worse – the fact that such behavior is not at all uncommon or the fact the military perpetuates this myth of moral behavior as part of its code.

    November 11, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. J DARTY

    King keeps trying to stir trouble he’s so influence by his party it pathetic he doesn’t care about this country, which is his duty to bring country & the People First. King should for get about Party Do What’s Right That’s All.

    November 11, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  9. adam smasher

    Politics aside, let's make sure this general testifies about Libya under oath. And stop calling him a hero you fools he went to Princeton and was probably banging chicks left and right in Langley, VA.

    November 11, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  10. Kool Aid

    Terry's still hung over from the crazy party she and her pals had last Tuesday night.

    November 11, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. Clint

    He must be really bored or stupid. There is no doubt it would take several months before they have an investigation complete; especially one that could ruin a General's career.

    November 11, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. tom wittmann

    The despicable Mr. King and conspiratory theory champion Erin Burnett, a shameless GOP activist, seem to have forgotten that the election is over and trying to seize any piece of straw will only make things worse for the GOP

    November 11, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  13. Igor

    of course it doesn't.

    If the MSM wasn't such a cowardly bunch of lapdogs for the lieing left, they'd do the investigation, and - just maybe - we'd find out that the explanations for Petraeus departure, Roberts incomprehensible vote on the unconstitutional 0bamacare – even Ross Perot's sudden departure from the presidential campaign when Bubba was running – all lead back to the same source.

    Remember Alinsky's handbook – anything is fair if you fighting for "justice" and left wing causes.

    November 11, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. us_1776

    Cantor was the source of the blackmail.

    .

    November 11, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. cj

    I guess the election is over now, so CNN can stop ignoring the Libya story as there is no longer a need to protect Obama. I am sure that this story ties into the Libya story in some way.Glad to see CNN on top of things. ha ha

    November 11, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  16. Mike Davis

    Seems every time I see Peter King on TV he is trying to involve Obama in some kind of scandal. People like him have no shame. I hope Americans wake up and realize it is precisely because of people like Peter King why the government is so dysfunctional.

    November 11, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  17. well

    the fake competition is over, and time to reboot old sagging wars and start some new ones!

    November 11, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. cellomeister

    It's remarkable just how quickly conspiracy theories begin these days, and how shortsighted public officials can be by supporting them – especially when it's the day after a controversy comes to surface.

    November 11, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  19. geladius

    So a man who supports a terrorist group like the IRA has a say in all this?

    November 11, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. WriterOfMD

    Just because there was an affair does not necessarily mean the government secrets were revealed. As for Rep. King, he is the reincarnation of McCarthy in every sense of the word! Someone needs to put a heavy thumb on this little piss-ant, A.S.A.P.! King, that is.

    November 11, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  21. Dan

    Math does not work for this man,and I am being Kind.

    November 11, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  22. Kevin

    General Petraeua didn't do anything wrong, as he didn't hurt me or my family. I personally would never hurt my family in this manner, but if he wants to do that with his family, it honestly doesn't bother me :)

    November 11, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. GI Joe

    If he thinks he already knows all the answers, he will ask questions leading to that. He is not the best man to lead this commission. He and Issa despise Obama and will do all they can to destroy him.

    I think they need to be voted out because the have done NOthing positive for this country.

    November 11, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. Sinator

    If a Democrat blew his nose and King didn't like the brand of tissue they used, he'd be up in arms demanding an investigation into the Democrat's alleged impropriety. One of the worst partisan hacks in DC.

    November 11, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. JC in Western US

    Yesterday they were all praising Petraeus and their minions were questioning why such an honorable man as Petraeus would be forced to resign over something as trivial as an affair. Now, they'll all start questioning why it took so long. Whatever one of the ranking Republicans says publicly becomes the Tune of The Day, and they will all sing it.

    November 11, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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