November 11th, 2012
10:42 AM ET
9 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. marg

    Well CIA Director D. Petreaus isnt the only one resigning there are others who are stepping down or about to step down under Pres. B. Obama administration. Congress is about to unfold the truth behind what occured before, during and after the attack on a temp facility being used as a US Consulate/Embassy in Benghazi, Lybia that killed US Ambassador C. Stevens and three other americans on september 11, 2012. THESE FOUR AMERICANS DESERVED TO BE PROTECTED, LET NOT THEIR DEATHS BE IN VAIN. THEY WERE SONS OF PARENTS. LET JUSTICE BE SERVED EVEN IF IT MEANS TO CLEAN HOUSE.

    November 11, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. dismayd

    Do they think that we'll believe this affair was MISSED when Petraeus was being vetted for Director of CIA??

    November 11, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  3. Gwats

    Peter and the Republicans in the House know the game is up, and they either need to start doing their jobs, or call the moving vans.

    November 11, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  4. James

    I'm sick of republican, why can't they "work" on the real problems of this bs country. People die in places like Lydia, Iraq, Afghanistan, if you don't want to take that chance then you shouldn't be there. Thousands of American die everyday right here in the good ole usa simply because there poor. But you NEVER here the republicans say a word about poverty.

    November 11, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. marineace

    The article about Petraeus this morning in the Philadelphia Inquirer clearly was trying to place most of the blame on the woman involved. Not sure who wrote the article, maybe the AP, but the slant was interesting.

    November 11, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  6. PJ

    The GOP should get over it. They were beat overwhelmingly last week. Stop trying to fight everything the Administration is trying to do. We have confidence in our President when it comes to Homeland Security. So, get a life and search for the hypocrites in your own ranks.

    November 11, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. Spock500

    Let's not forget that Secretary Caspar Weinberger was "begging" President Ronald Reagan to beef up security, or withdraw forces, from the US Marine barracks in Beirut, some 6 months after the US Embassy attack in Beirut had already killed 63 personnel. 241 US Marines perished. Were these same Obama critics up in arms in 1983 demanding why security concerns from the Defense Secretary himself were ignored by the commander-in-Chief? No, of course not.

    November 11, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. vwman

    it is all about politics.

    November 11, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. jm says

    why can't Obama get the economy started? He has wasted billions of taxpayers money.....investing in green energy and the stimulus package alone. now he wants to raise taxes to get more tax payer money. it makes no sense. raising taxes on the wealthy will help no one. it doesn't help the economy. will not even put a dent in our national debt. it helps no one who is unemployed. it doesn't lessen the number of people on welfare, disability, food stamps or wic. It does NOTHING to help this country. maybe people would be willing to work with this president if he just had a GOOD idea.

    November 11, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
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