Congressional Leaders Suspicious Over Timing of Petraeus Affair Information
Congressional leaders are seeking answers on why government agencies withheld information that the nation's security may have been compromised over the affair between former CIA Director David Petraeus and his biographer, Army Reserve Officer Paula Broadwell. In other words, they want to know who knew what and when.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) says news of the affair was like "a lightning bolt."
In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Feinstein questioned why committee chairmen and vice-chairmen of the Intelligence Committees in both chambers were not notified sooner.
"The incident could have had an effect on national security," Feinstein said. "We should have been told."
FBI agents uncovered the inappropriate relationship after Jill Kelley, who describes herself as a "personal friend" of the Petraeus family, contacted an agent with the bureau and informed them she was receiving threatening emails from another female.
The electronic trail led to multiple dummy email accounts controlled by Broadwell. FBI agents not only discovered the harassing emails but also Broadwell's affair with the CIA director. Cyber-harassment is also a federal crime.
Although details are still murky, the first knowledge of the affair outside of the FBI came when an agency whistle-blower contacted Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) who referred the whistle-blower to an aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. That person ultimately spoke with Cantor who did not immediately inform the House Intelligence Committee because they did not know if the information was credible.
The CIA is denying that classified information was leaked in any of the emails.
Regardless of the chain of events that led to the affair and ultimately to Petraeus' resignation, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, says that Petraeus must testify before Congress.
"I'm on the intelligence committee Mike Rogers is the chairman, but I strongly believe that David Petraeus has to be a witness at that hearing – if not this week, then in the weeks after," said King.
Feinstein denied Petraeus' resignation had anything to do with Congress' investigation on the Sept. 11 attacks in Libya but King expressed some doubts about the timing.
"I have real questions about this. I think the timeline has to be looked at. I'm suggesting there's a lot of unanswered questions," King said on CNN's "State of the Union."
Apparently, Attorney General Eric Holder was informed in late summer that Petraeus was being investigated but Congress was not notified because they did not believe the nation's security was in jeopardy.
Sources close to the FBI say Broadwell was interviewed for the second time the Friday before the election and that the investigation was not completed until sometime Monday. The White House was informed of the affair at 5 p.m. on Election Day.
Officials inside the CIA and the FBI say there is no evidence that Petraeus improperly shared classified information with Broadwell.