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U.S. lawmakers to dig into Petraeus case

Nov. 12, 2012 at 7:25 PM  |  Updated Nov. 12, 2012 at 11:13 AM   |   Comments

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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.

Other top lawmakers said they were kept in the dark until just after the presidential election.

"We received no advance notice" of the FBI probe that revealed the affair between Petraeus, 60, who quit as CIA director Friday, and Broadwell, 40, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told "Fox News Sunday."

"It was like a lightning bolt," she said.

"This is something that could have had an effect on national security," Feinstein said, and she was "absolutely" going to investigate why she, committee Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and perhaps other key lawmakers were not informed.

She said committee leaders are routinely made aware of investigations involving national security before they become public.

"We should have been told," Feinstein said, explaining she learned about the probe from news-media inquiries Friday.

The Petraeus matter will now be part of a previously scheduled hearing before her committee Thursday, she said. The hearing is still expected to focus on the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

Feinstein said Petraeus' resignation was "absolutely not" linked to the Benghazi attack, which killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

The CIA has been criticized for providing a flawed early report about the nature of the attack.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y., said the circumstances of the FBI probe appeared to be an attempt to conceal embarrassing or scandalous information.

"The FBI director had the obligation to tell the president or the National Security Council at the earliest state," King said on CNN's "State of the Union," adding the story so far "just doesn't add up."

The FBI probe stemmed from harassing emails initially reported to have been sent by Broadwell to a second woman, identified Sunday as Jill Kelley, 37, of Tampa, Fla.

Kelley -- who volunteers at Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base, where the military's Central Command, Special Operations Command Central and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency are based -- told the FBI about the emails, suggesting they appeared to seek to blackmail Petraeus, triggering the probe, several news organizations reported.

The nature of Kelley's relationship with Petraeus, a retired four-star Army general married to his wife, Holly, for 37 years, has only been reported to be that of friends.

Kelley and her husband, Dr. Scott Kelley, who have three children, said in a statement Sunday they wanted privacy and did not address their involvement in the FBI probe.

Broadwell is married to radiologist Scott Broadwell. The couple have two children.

CNN reported Monday a government source who had not spoken to Kelley said friends described her as feeling like an "innocent victim," and that a friend of Petraeus who had spoken to him since the scandal broke said he denied having an affair with anyone other than Broadwell.

CNN said a Petraeus friend said the affair started about two months after Petraeus joined the CIA in September 2011 and ended about four months ago by mutual agreement. Petraeus and Broadwell, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., last talked about a month ago.

The Washington Post reported Monday two law enforcement officials said that after Kelley contacted a friend who is an FBI agent, Petraeus told Broadwell last summer to stop sending threatening emails to Kelley.

ABC News reported a former spokesman for Petraeus said Holly Petraeus was "not exactly pleased right now."

"In a conversation with David Petraeus this weekend, he said that, 'Furious would be an understatement,'" retired U.S. Army Col. Steve Boylan told ABC. "And I think anyone that's been put in that situation would probably agree. He deeply hurt the family."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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