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Nov. 12, 2012 at 10:10 PM   |   Comments

U.S. lawmakers to dig into Petraeus case

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. lawmakers are vowing to dig into how David Petraeus came to quit the CIA to verify whether national security was breached.

CNN reported Monday Petraeus' lover, Paula Broadwell, had suggested in a speech at the University of Denver last month that the fatal Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, targeted a secret prison at the consulate annex. She said the CIA had "taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to get these prisoners back."

"These detention claims are categorically not true," a senior intelligence official told CNN. "Nobody was ever held at the annex before, during or after the attacks."

CNN said Petraeus recently traveled to Libya to meet the CIA station chief to discuss the attack.

The Times reported Sunday Petraeus denied to investigators that he had given Broadwell classified documents found on her laptop computer.

High-level FBI and U.S. Justice Department officials knew as far back as late summer about Petraeus' extramarital affair with his biographer, government officials told The New York Times and other news organizations.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder knew about threatening email links to Petraeus at that time, The Wall Street Journal reported. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., learned about them in October, the Times, the Journal and other news organizations reported.

Cantor passed on the information he had to FBI Director Robert Mueller, evidently not knowing the FBI already knew about it, the news organizations said. But he didn't tell the House Intelligence Committee or other key lawmakers then because he and other staffers didn't know how credible the information was, Fox News reported.

Holder, Mueller and Cantor had no immediate comment.


Secretary of Defense John Kerry?

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama is considering Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the 2004 presidential nominee, as his next defense secretary, officials said.

While Kerry, who helped prep the president for his debates with Mitt Romney, has long been thought to have his eye on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's job, the nation's next top diplomat is likely to be Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Deputy national security adviser John Brennan is being considered to head the CIA, but if he chooses to leave government, acting CIA Director Michael Morell, who took over upon the resignation of David Petraeus, likely would take the job permanently, the newspaper said.

If Kerry is not selected to replace Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the position could go to Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter or former Undersecretary for Defense Policy Michele Flournoy, the Post said.

Vice President Joe Biden's national security adviser, Antony J. Blinken, and the National Security Council's senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights, Samantha Power, are two possible replacements for Rice at the United Nations.


Indianapolis explosion still a mystery

INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Citizens Energy, the Indianapolis utility investigating the explosion that killed two people and destroyed a neighborhood, said it has not yet found the cause.

City officials said 80 homes were damaged in the blast Saturday in the Richmond Hill section of Indianapolis, and 30 may have to be demolished. The explosion killed a teacher and her husband, WISH-TV, Indianapolis, reported.

While the cause has not been determined, Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., said preliminary findings of the Department of Homeland Security determined it was not a bomb or a meth lab that exploded.

The utility company said there is no evidence of a gas leak prior to the explosion, but WISH-TV said it learned Monday a family living in one of the damaged homes may have noticed a possible odor of gas.

When questioned Monday whether gas crews had visited or repaired gas lines at one of the demolished homes last week, spokesman Dan Considine offered no comment and referred questions to the Department of Homeland Security.


U.S. wins second term on U.N. rights group

NEW YORK, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- The United States has been re-elected to another term on the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, the U.S. State Department announced Monday.

The U.N. General Assembly voted to give the United States a second term, the department said in a statement.

The election was "a highly competitive race among several qualified Western candidates that are all strong champions of human rights," the department said.

The United States was one of five candidates for three seats.The other candidates were Germany, Greece, Ireland and Sweden.

Germany and Ireland won the other seats.

"While much hard work remains to be done, especially ending the council's disproportionate and biased focus on Israel, we look forward to cooperating with other council members to continue to address human rights concerns and to ensure that the council fully realizes its promise," the statement added.

The United States had been absent from the sometimes controversial council until 2009, when the Obama administration sought and won a seat.

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