Lawmakers in both houses of the U.S. Congress on Monday slammed officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation for not informing the House and Senate intelligence committees regarding an FBI investigation into the “scandalous conduct” of then-CIA Director David Petraeus.
For example, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters that the FBI’s surreptitious probe of Petraeus’ extramarital affair was “a mistake.” “This is certainly an operationally sensitive matter. But [members of my committee] weren’t briefed,” said Feinstein.
Petraeus’ resignation on Friday and his admission of an adulterous relationship shocked the entire Obama administration. According to Fox News Channel’s Jennifer Griffin, the FBI initiated its investigation into the case after a female friend of Gen. Petraeus and his wife became a complainant in a law enforcement investigation regarding her receiving anonymous and threatening emails.
The FBI agent who “caught” the harassment case traced the threatening emails to West Point-graduate and author Paula Broadwell. The agent apparently learned that she was Petraeus’ biographer and later his secret girlfriend.
Sen. Feinstein said the FBI case continues to provide more details with each passing day. “It’s like peeling an onion. Every day, another peel comes off, and you see a whole new dimension to this,” she told Fox News.
The Senate Intelligence Committee will conduct an investigation into Petraeus’ conduct and also probe the FBI’s failure to alert the panel immediately about Petraeus’ extramarital activities with Broadwell.
“There are many questions that require truthful answers, such as how long did Attorney General Eric Holder know about the affair? When did President Barack Obama first hear about this explosive investigation? The FBI wasn’t investigating some garden-variety corruption case; they were investigating the powerful director of the CIA,” said former military intelligence officer and New York police detective Michael Snopes.
During an interview on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Sen. Feinstein said the news story about Petraeus’ resignation was like “a lightening bolt” and his scandalous conduct could have had an adverse effect on U.S. national security.
Congressman Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told Fox News on Monday that the probe of ” someone out there in such a sensitive position” should have been brought to President Barack Obama or at least his National Security Council.
President Obama on Friday accepted Gen. Petraeus’ resignation and he said, “My thoughts and prayers are with Dave and Holly Petraeus and I wish them the very best at this difficult time.”
The former four-star general served almost 38-years in the U.S. Army. He had overseen all coalition forces in Iraq and led the military campaign in Afghanistan, and was considered a success in both conflicts.
He took over the top spot at CIA in September 2011, when then D/CIA Leon Panetta became the Secretary of Defense.
Some former military, intelligence and law enforcement officials believe that the Democrats such as Feinstein, are shifting attention away from Obama and the “Benghazigate” scandal and focusing instead on some low-level federal law enforcement officer “who probably was just following orders.”