News / USA

US Congressional Leaders Briefed on Widening Petraeus Scandal

Former CIA Director David Petraeus (Jan 2012 photo)Former CIA Director David Petraeus (Jan 2012 photo)
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Former CIA Director David Petraeus (Jan 2012 photo)
Former CIA Director David Petraeus (Jan 2012 photo)
Cindy Saine
Acting CIA Director Michael Morrell briefed congressional leaders behind closed doors on Tuesday about the widening scandal over an extramarital affair that led to the resignation last week of CIA Director David Petraeus.  Some lawmakers are demanding more information on the FBI investigation that led to Petraeus's resignation.

Several U.S. lawmakers are asking why the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not inform Congress and President Barack Obama earlier about its investigation of Petraeus, which began months ago.  After a briefing with the CIA Acting Director Morrell, House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she is not happy that congressional leaders had to learn about the investigation on television.  But Pelosi said she is confident that Petraeus's wrongdoing does not have national security implications.

"I think that it is really important to note that this was a personal indiscretion as far as we know.  Why somebody would be personally indiscrete is their own problem.  Why they would do it in emails is beyond my imagination.  But in any event, the honorable thing was done; the general has resigned," said Pelosi.

The investigation into Petraeus, his mistress Paula Broadwell, and Jill Kelley, the woman who originally triggered the investigation into Petraeus, has now expanded to include the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan - Marine Corps General John Allen.

The FBI says it has uncovered 20,000 to 30,000 pages of "potentially inappropriate" communications between General Allen and Kelley, who has been described as a Petraeus family friend.  It was Kelley's complaint to the FBI about threatening emails from Petraeus' biographer, Paula Broadwell, that led to Petraeus's resignation.

General Allen has denied any wrongdoing and will retain his command in Afghanistan during the investigation.

Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine says she is "puzzled" by what has happened in the FBI investigation.  Petraeus was set to testify on Thursday before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence regarding the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Collins says Petraeus will need to testify in the future because he has important information about the attack.

"There are so many unanswered questions at this point.  I will say that I think it is absolutely imperative that General Petraeus come and testify," said Collins.

CIA Acting Director Morrell is expected to testify before the committee on Thursday.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is pushing for a bipartisan House-Senate committee to investigate the Petraeus scandal, saying that it is too complex for individual committees to handle.

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