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. Dino

    Obviously something is amiss with Petraeus. These are the kinds of things that create coverups. They are talking about 9/11/12 but I'm still trying to figure out what hit the Pentagon 11 years ago.

    November 11, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. kps77

    In our legal system, one is presumed innocent and proved guilty. However, when discussing humanity in general, I think Abraham Lincoln said it best: "Always consider a man guilty and make him prove his innocence. Where there is no fire, there cannot be smoke,"

    November 11, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  3. Mainer23

    Thank you all for the comments of reason. This is obviously a personal tragedy for the Patraeus family nothing more. So conspiracy hawkers find something else. General Patraeus has served our country well for 38 years and his wife and family have sacrificed and supported him in that service. He now owes them the time and attention to try to put their lives back together. As a military wife for close to 40 years, I lived the drill and folks it "ain't" easy. As for testifying, I am confident that the acting director along with the Secretary of State can supply the answers. However, I'm pretty sure even that won't be enough for some people.

    November 11, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. Candy Taylor

    Will the GOP ever get it? Quit looking for something, anything to discredit Obama and get on with what you were elected to do! I am soooooo sick of these guys. Trying to divide this country over and over again. History will show them to be the traitors they truely are!

    November 11, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. Kimbo

    King needs to read the other story how Cantor knew in October about the investigation. Just trying to stir the pot and make this session of congress even more divided.

    November 11, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. Bobby Ray

    Yes, Obama should have known about this secret affair before there was any indication there was an affair. It is not like he was involved in a close reelection campaign, or directing operations required by the largest hurricane to ever hit the eastern seaboard of the US.

    November 11, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. NFLD thought

    The GOP just can't accept that they lost the election. Get over it people and move on. Besides, knowing your past of eating your own I figured you would be too busy looking for ways to get rid of Romney and blaming him for all your woes.
    First Rove refuses to accept the election loss and blames everybody but himself for it; then again, if I went our and raised hundreds of millions of dollars and spent it on a losing candidate I would be woried too.
    Who knows, the donors may even want a few answers.

    November 11, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. harry101

    Wow look at the libs comments. No one should question anything that may look bad for Obama. Yep they are demanding censorship and CNN helps any way they can, I do find the timing very comvenant, Investigation carefully reported after the election when it had been going on for a while. FBI working for the incumbents reelection as hard as they could. They feel that sense the Obama won and they support him he should never be questioned and CNN agrees they are great at providing excuse if they carry the story at all.

    November 11, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. Bobby Ray

    Peter King will always demand an investigation until a Republican is involved.

    November 11, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. betterdays

    When all the drone strikes and intelligence errors add up to a successful attack on our soil by a reinvigorated terror network, I hope everyone will find it easy to console themselves with 7.9% unemployment and $4/gallon gasoline and additional food stamps and various other "change" that we've all decided is working so well for us. Throw in a gay marriage or two if that helps, and smoke some pot. I mean, let's concentrate on what's best for the majority of us, right? National security is waaaay down the list, right below free condoms for people who don't seem to use them very often.

    November 11, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. Maria Chorizo

    Here we go again. Fox News just gave the Republicans the green light to make an ass of themselves.

    November 11, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. dan

    This is exactly what we need, a good old scandal, impeachment reality show process, while America avoids paying to a sky rocketing DOW jones.

    November 11, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  13. marty in MA

    more politics, that's all this is.

    November 11, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. Mr. Rogers

    There are many, many high and mid-level people in government (male and female) who have high level security clearances and access to national secrets. You can be sure that of the married ones, at least half of them are or have been involved in extra-marital affairs. Has this really affected their job performance or skill competencies in any meaningful way or compromised national security? I think not.

    This was a factional and political hit job to take down Petraeus and embarrass the President. Remember when they tried to railroad President Clinton out of office for the outrageous crime of getting head in the Oval Office? I'm sure that wasn't the first Presidential tryst in the Oval Office...pretty sure many Presidents have used that desk for other purposes...especially Kennedy.

    The rest of the world laughs at us for these s e x "crimes" and rightfully so. I look forward to the day when government and society's moral compass is not guided by religious wing nuts with political agendas.

    November 11, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. Frank Maston

    House committee hearings are held to find out what happened and take "corrective action" if it's warranted. Serious house members listen to evidence before jumping to conclusions in the press. What does that say about Peter King? And, if the FBI had even a shred of evidence that Petraeus was ACTUALLY compromising national security rather than just having a very stupid affair, he would have been picked up at once and charged with a serious crime. Got it?

    November 11, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. solowd

    If congress was informed about every secret FBI investigation, the secrecy would be gone.

    Also, the "top intelligence chief" is not the director of the CIA, it's the director of national intelligence.

    November 11, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  17. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Remember the Clinton impeachment hearings led by none other than Newt Gingrich who was having his own affair at the time and quit as Speaker of the House, well the room might get smaller if they continue this mess with Petraeus. If that happens and they all run for the hills, I'm going to laugh my you know what off. Can't wait to see if John McCain will be present. LOL

    November 11, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  18. Jules

    Sounds very similar situation as with the JOHN EDWARDS case.....similar that the "other woman" is the one who is deeply involved in his work and personal life......sad, very sad

    November 11, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  19. Mr. Rogers

    There are many, many high and mid-level people in government (male and female) who have high level security clearances and access to national secrets. You can be sure that of the married ones, at least half of them are or have been involved in extra-marital affairs. Has this really affected their job performance or skill competencies in any meaningful way or compromised national security? I think not.

    This was a factional and political hit job to take down Petraeus and embarrass the President. Remember when they tried to railroad President Clinton out of office for the outrageous crime of getting head in the Oval Office? I'm sure that wasn't the first Presidential tryst in the Oval Office...pretty sure many Presidents have used that desk for other purposes...especially Kennedy.

    The rest of the world laughs at us for these "crimes" and rightfully so. I look forward to the day when government and society's moral compass is not guided by religious wing nuts with political agendas.

    November 11, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  20. john

    "Rep. King says Petraeus story 'just doesn't add up'"

    Sometimes I think if I see or hear Rep. King one more time I'm going to barf! Why do we elect these guys to congress? King, Mourdock, Akin, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfawicz, warhawks, conspiracy theories, weapons of mass destruction, legitimate rape, etc. Where do these crazies come from? If you said GOP you were correct, put a gold star on your forehead! Of course the Democrats have their nuts also but why do we keep returning these people to congress? American voters complain about how bad things are but we keep sending people back to congress who do nothing but waste our tax money, sell out to big business lobbyists, and ignore the needs of average American families. They are immoral, dishonest, greedy, and cater to the interests of the wealthy and special interests yet we trust them to make laws and regulations for us! Why do we keep putting the fox in charge of the hen house and then express our shock and displeasure when the chickens keep disappearing? FOOLISH, ILL-INFORMED AMERICAN VOTERS! China (or Russia if you believe Romney) are not the enemies, congress is the enemy!!!

    November 11, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. magnum12

    Rep. King says Petraeus story 'just doesn't add up' Dems explanations never add up. Duh!

    November 11, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  22. rondonaz

    I couldn't care less that Petraeus had an affair. If it was fine for Clinton to have an affair (his impeachment was for lying; the affair was accepted), then certainly it should be OK for lesser public servants to also be unfaithful. However, the public should always be wary when the White House starts lying. When the WH claims that they didn't know until election night that the FBI had been investigation the CIA Director – that is an obvious lie. Does any intelligent citizen really believe that the FBI didn't immediately inform Eric Holder of the investigation, and that Holder didn't then immediately inform Obama? That was clearly a deliberate lie, and though the excuse could be as simple as Obama feared disclosure might hurt his chances fro re-election, it might also be far less acceptable. Where are the courageous journalists we need to learn the truth?

    November 11, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  23. Jacko

    If he testifies, there is no conspiracy. If he is no longer required to testify, then you know there is more to this story.

    November 11, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  24. many man smoke, fumanchu

    my irony-meter is blowing UP. way to be the head honcho of the CIA but fail at something as simple as cheating on your spouse. first rule of cheating: DON'T GET CAUGHT. don't ever put anything in writing, especially emails. maybe I should apply for his job. :(

    November 11, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  25. Disappointed

    David Patraeus violated the code of ethics even though he may not have done anything illegal. His judgement is therefore not to be trusted. If there is a hearing at which he was to testify he should still be compelled to testify although it may not be in his role as CIA director.

    November 11, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
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