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. Rachni

    ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES
    @justsaying: President Obama could cure cancer, establish peace in the Middle East and walk on water, and you'd still complain ...

    The timing of this makes no sense, that's what's raising all the eyebrows as it should.

    November 11, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. DocHollywood

    Republicans have become a party of conspiracy theorists, whiners, and deniers. Instead of working with the democrats to solve serious problems, they now look to find some kind of conspiracy, to obstruct at every opportunity. And they wonder why they lost the election so badly.

    November 11, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  3. Majesty Rider

    So and so slept with so and so.... this is really what Americans want to hear about... drama and gossip. Good god people.. get a life.

    November 11, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. vmm

    Who cares? This isn't "Days of Our Lives". Mr. King and others in Congress focus on the economy please.

    November 11, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. kathy2515

    No one knows what happened and I don't think that Congress needs to be informed about any investigations involving either the CIA or FBI until there is something to find out. All we know, is that the FBI got involved because the a woman, who is close to Petraeus received 'harassing' emails from the biographer. I would want to consider her motivation first, who she is and just how 'involved' is she before jumping to conclusions about some type of cover up. Yes, I also think there's more to this and they will let us know when we need to know. Regardless of who is to testify, the assistant director of the CIA has over 30 years and was involved in everything concerning Benghazi, he is to testify, although I think Petraeus should also, as he was slated to do so from the beginning. Resigning from the CIA doesn't absolve that he needs to testify.

    November 11, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. Bobby

    Believe you liberals should back down a bit. One of you own, the vice-chairman, also wants an investigation. I guess you don't claim him, right?

    November 11, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. Partisian Ron

    Here comes the Republicans trying to forge their own reality! That wasn't Petraeus' having an affair. It was a Democratic set up. To cover up Benghazi. They haev been discredit on many of their other crazy claims. So now they need another!

    November 11, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. x

    He resigns so he doesn't have to testify. What doesn't add up about that?

    November 11, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. Joe

    Wow does anyone else think that these people that represent us should be worried about other things? They are worrried that David Petraeus had an affair and it doesn't add up. Why don't we see how many senate and house of repubs are having affairs. You really think someone was blackmailing David Petraeus and getting secret info out of him. Really a mother of two kids. GTFO man the CIA has more to worry about then this bull crap. This is a waste of time and a waste of intelligence. You know what doesn't add up is the theory that intelligence has been comprimised. Lets write a book and movie about it. Can't wait till I see that.

    November 11, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. verkleiden

    You voted it...live with it

    November 11, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. John

    It sound to be If you can't win the election, than start a witch hunt. If Eric Cantor know about It weeks ago,than why didn't he tell the President than. All Of this sound like a GOP witch because they lost. And why Is it no body Is ask Eric Cantor why he didn't tell the President, Or said anything about It at all.

    November 11, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  12. Xavier M.

    The information about the benghazi attack should be kept behind closed doors, classified until after the investigation, but the right is on a witch hunt to find some type of evidence. Just so they just have something on the president so that's the only reason why this is such a big deal. Wait until after the investigation, after the attackers are caught killed.

    November 11, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  13. John

    Right it's all about finding the truth. So where was Peter King regarding a 9/11 iinvestigation. Why wasn't he bellowing to find out about that? It was way worse. KIng is the poster boy for right wing nutcake. Sour is the best word to describe him.

    November 11, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. Edwin

    This is the same Rep. King who held anti-muslim hearings, right?

    November 11, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. mshub

    More Republican spit-balling. If they didn't whine whenever someone in the administration moved, we would start to take them seriously. They obviously didn't learn that people are getting a little tired of their attack and obstruct tactics from this election – yet. With some luck, it will sink in and they will actually start doing something meaningful.

    November 11, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Oooooh, this whole situation looks like Watergate all over again....can't wait to see how this pans out.

    November 11, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  17. out of control

    Guys, control your equipment and we'll all be in a better place. Just because you can doesn't mean you should and that is true for everyone.

    November 11, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  18. Mech

    The GOP's old goal of denying Obama a second term is now to find something, anything to impeach the President.

    November 11, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. Jiff

    Why does this matter? The man is one of the smartest military minds we have and we care whether he had an affair or not.

    November 11, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. cathy

    No Mr. King what you really are saying is that there is some kind of conspiracy. Tuesday should have taught you, the silly scare tactics of the Repubs do not work.

    November 11, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. morgan

    A married woman has an affair with another married man then sends threats to a second woman who she fears might be getting close to her secret lover. Good grief. Another man brought down by a jealous, possessive woman. And, another man brought to disgrace because his little head ruled over his big head. Further proof that some highly educated humans are capable of acting stupid.

    And yes, this is a big deal because she might have been a spy, or it is possible she was out to blackmail him for secret info.

    Or, it is possible she was a mole sent to remove the general because he dared to disagree with president Obama.

    This might become a novel and a movie in about 12 years when Obama finally leaves office.

    November 11, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. Scott

    If Patraeus needs to resign because this affair then so be it. The FBI will still do their due diligence to see if security has been compromised or if any laws were broken. When (not if) Patraeus is subponead over Benghazi and if the Obama administration moves to block it, then we will know there is something fishy here.

    November 11, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    @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."

    Wow, the reality train has definitely left the station!

    November 11, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  24. larkwoodgirl

    It doesn't surprise me that King doesn't think this adds up. Last week, we saw this past that the Republicans are not very good with math.

    November 11, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. BostonBob

    OMG – will you right wing whack jobs go put your tinfoil hats back on.

    Who cares? Obama won.

    Don't you get it – Obama won.

    I will repeat it in case you can't read very well after pulling your head out...

    Obama won.

    If you try to continue to make trouble for the president you will ALL be voted out in the mid-term election.

    Your side lost.

    Your ideas lost.

    Compromise with the president or you won't have a job very soon and your party will likely self-destruct even worse than it has over the couple of years.

    November 11, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
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