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. Bayousara

    Rep.Peter King (Republican) just wants to detract from Pres. Obama's schedule and plans to work on the "fiscal cliff" problem along with anything else the President plans to do in these very important last days of his first term. It pretty much tells me the Republicans are going to continue putting cogs in political wheels this next four years. So much for love of country........

    November 11, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    @inell, Winter Park, FL: "Take a look at how many attacks there were on embassies during the Bush terms, and how many people were killed or injured. Can you spell hypocritical without the aid of spellcheck?"

    Here's some info on the above:

    2002 U.S. Embassy Karachi, Pakistan: 10 killed, 51 injured
    2004 U. S. Embassy bombed in Uzbekistan: 2 killed, several injured.
    2004 U.S. Consulate Saudi Arabia: 8 killed
    2006 US. Embassy Syria: 1 killed, several injured
    2007 U.S. Embassy -Athens: building bombed with an anti-tank grenade...fortunately no one was in the building at the time.
    2008-U.S. Embassy – Serbia: 1 dead; Embassy set on fire
    2008- U. S. Embassy- Yemen- bombed 10 killed

    November 11, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  3. don

    As a loyal supporter of our president, shame on Petraeus. Because he had an affair, he shouldn't have to testify any more. Actually, because of this they should stop the whole Bengazi investigation. Lets hear it for Obama!

    November 11, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  4. Rabbithole

    Wakeup people this is not about an affair, he's abandoning ship for a far more serious reason!

    November 11, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  5. RCCA

    Apparently if you are an Obama supporter you don't care what happened in Benghazi, why our Ambassador was targeted and killed, who did it, why there was inadequate security, why our President did his best to apologize for hurting Muslim religious feelings and try to convince the American people that the Benghazi attack was a demonstration about a 13 minute video insulting Mohammad that got out of control - because any investigation into the facts might make Obama look bad.

    November 11, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. bill Davis

    You have home values down 40%, interest on your having account at 1%, and you worry about this..

    November 11, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. Abby

    i don't understand why this is a partisan issue. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but it does seem a little odd that Petreaus willingly ousted himself because of an "extra-marital affair" especially when he is about to undergo questioning about the Benghazi attacks. There is definitely more to this story, but the general public probably won't find out the truth.

    November 11, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Any thinking person, Republican or Democrat, if they take the time to look into this story will be able to tell that this whole story stinks to the high heavens. Yes, many people would like to just 'move on' from this. Four people died after begging for help from this administration. How would you feel if it was your son or daughter? Some people have sons and daughters in dangerous places right now. We need to find out what happened and get this right. Al-Qaeda is just as strong if not stronger, and they will not hesitate to strike on a weakened target again. We need to make sure our people are protected, and if the host nation is incapable of doing so (as Libya had told us long beforehand), then we get our people out OR we send our own people in. Neither of these things were done. Why? That answer has to be solved. Petraeus was the one whose people were taking the blame for all of this and his testimony was the MOST anticipated, and he resigns just days beforehand over something the FBI has been investigating for four months. We may never have proof, but its quacking big time.

    November 11, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  9. Lardeau

    This is all soooo sad. This guy was top quality. Then he ruined his rep – forever. How dumb can you get ?? Sex is dynamite – that you don't play around with when you are in one of the top jobs in the whole world. He gambled – and lost. Now 2 families are ruined too – his and hers. However he should still testify in the Libya case.

    November 11, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  10. Observer

    Republican conspiracy theories are always good for a laugh. We haven't had any humor like this since the Republican "birthers" and "deathers".

    November 11, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  11. Rhonda Rahn

    Let's all just wait until more information becomes available.

    November 11, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  12. gmat74

    Here we go again. I thought all political heads and high ranking officers were allowed this luxery based upon service. There is nothing unusual about human attraction. The tragedy is common men will displace his great service and dedication with adultry and malice. XP3

    November 11, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  13. nadinesh

    what a lot of partisan nonsense.

    November 11, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. nadinesh

    Just more partisan nonsense.

    November 11, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  15. doug

    How it drives Obama crazy that this is a man who cannot be bought, he has no price that goes above and beyond his nation. You simply cannot say the same for a single Democrat, and probably half of these Republicans.

    I don't care about Obama as you shouldn't either, America is finished because of the Democrat that voted for him, if not Obama they have loads of moral-less dishonest libs to take his place. Read the comments here, these are your average Democrats, there is nothing, and I mean nothing, that Obama could do that would waver their support.

    At least for the Democrat, they are not selling out their morals and values for a dishonorable man, as Democrats they never have had morals or values to begin with. At least GWB had integrity, that is proved by the fact that only way a lib can challenge that is to distort the truth and lie, with Obama you just need to lay out the facts, that is if you are what he called the enemy who needs to be punished, Obama's own words for those who don't support the Democrat party.

    November 11, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. psychicstalker

    I totally agree with Rep. King and I said so the minute I first saw an earlier story that Petraeus had resigned over an investigation into an alleged extramarital affair. This story only makes sense if the alleged extra marital affair had something to do with anyone involved in the 9-11 attack on the embassy in Benghazii, Libya. That might actually kill 2 birds with one stone in explaining how it is the FBI couldn't get its boots on the ground to actually inspect the crime scene and allowed it to be picked out over and trampled under foot by anyone, and why it was really investigating Petraeus. Something stinks and I don't think Patraeus' resignation stops him from being subpoena'd to testify. On a side note it cracks me up how people instantly assume that the other woman must in fact be female when in this day and age it might very well be a male. Not saying it is a male in this case, just saying I wouldn't be so quick to rule it out as a possibility.

    November 11, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. janerose

    This is how it goes when republicans pout!! They will put America in a strangle hold if they aren't allowed to run this country. What a bunch of cry babies. How unattractive. Who in the civilized world would join the Republican party?

    November 11, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. Lynn

    Andrea Mitchell on Meet the Press this morning had more news about Benghazi. Gen Petreaus was supposed to testify but now his deputy will. Petreaus did a personal investigation and has video of interviews that prove what the White House was saying each and every time. There is no cover-up. It bothers me that the Gen doesn't get to testify himself, but I'm wondering if there's still a way to subpoena him as a private citizen?

    November 11, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  19. Btea5503

    @PhilOhio-This could be another way of the GOP saying that the president was notified earlier, but didn't say anything about until after the election. As a matter of fact, I believe this is what he's getting at! Other words, the president tried to cover it up, or wouldn't say anything until after the election fearing that it would hurt him in some way. I don't think the congressman is upset because the president was not notified sooner, he's saying that he was. Nothing that nice comes from the GOP. In their minds, everything is a democratic coverup.

    November 11, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. nadinesh

    I hardly think that manufactured outrage from the tawdry likes of Peter King convinces anyone.

    November 11, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  21. Lpongine

    That's right. This isn't right. Lets blame this on Obama. We have to blame him since thats the only thing we can do after losing in the election. The people may have voted but the tea partiest will have the last say.

    November 11, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  22. Red Pison

    It was a cover up. The ambassador found out something awful that we were doing or that we had done in the past and was assassinated by the CIA before he could return and blow the whistle.

    November 11, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. Casual Observer

    Yeah – that's about right. A week and already the Republicans are mouthing off like they know everything and are in a position to tell us what needs to be done. Can't you keep the pouting down to a dull roar for a while?

    If you really want to make some noise, how about working with the Democrats to solve the really big issues – like the budget and "fiscal cliff". Until you help solve that issue, you have no business creating new issues! Got it?

    November 11, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  24. Teddy

    Of course it doesn't add it. It is a coverup.

    November 11, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. Btea5503

    @RCCA- The president already said in the rose garden that the attack was an act of terror. Romney tried that and lost the second debate on that.

    November 11, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
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