Congress’ questions for Petraeus will have to wait

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Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have questions for former CIA Director David H. Petraeus about the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, his recently disclosed extramarital affair and other issues — but their queries will have to wait for a later date.

Acting CIA Director Michael Morrell will testify Thursday in closed-door hearings of the Senate and House intelligence committees instead of Mr. Petraeus, who resigned abruptly last week after admitting he had an extramarital affair.

Congressional leaders said they want to know when the FBI uncovered Mr. Petraeus‘ affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, during its investigation of threatening emails to a woman close to the former CIA chief, whether national security was compromised, and why the FBI didn’t notify Congress sooner about the affair.

“The FBI has briefed me now. I actually wish we had been briefed a little bit earlier. … We received no advanced notice. It was like a lightning bolt,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told “Fox News Sunday.”

A senior U.S. military official identified the second woman as Jill Kelley, 37, who lives in Tampa, Fla., and serves as the State Department’s liaison to the military’s Joint Special Operations Command, where work on secret drone missions and other duties are performed, The Associated Press reported.

The military official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly, said Mrs. Kelley received harassing emails from Mrs. Broadwell, which led the FBI to examine her email account and eventually discover her relationship with Mr. Petraeus.

A friend of Mrs. Kelley and Mr. Petraeus, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, also said the two saw each other often, but the nature of their friendship was unclear, AP reported.

On Sunday night, Mrs. Kelley and her husband, Scott, issued a statement saying their family has “been friends with Gen. Petraeus and his family for more than five years. We respect his and his family’s privacy and want the same for us and our three children.”

Mr. Petraeus, who turned 60 on Wednesday, tendered his resignation Thursday to President Obama, and informed CIA employees of his action — and his affair — on Friday.

He resigned amid congressional scrutiny of the Obama administration’s response to the assault on the U.S. Consulate, in which U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Intelligence committee leaders will question Mr. Morrell and FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce about Mr. Petraeus‘ affair during meetings Wednesday, a day before the closed-door hearing at which Mr. Petraeus originally was scheduled to appear.

Congressional leaders indicated that they still might call on Mr. Petraeus to testify eventually.

“I would not rule out Gen. Petraeus being called to testify. That still could happen at some point in time,” Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Georgia Republican and vice chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“I don’t see how in the world you can find out what happened in Benghazi before, during and after the attack if Gen. Petraeus doesn’t testify,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

One former senior congressional staffer, who asked for anonymity because of the sensitivity of current employers, told The Washington Times that Mr. Petraeus would be “duty-bound” to testify, even as a private citizen.

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About the Author
Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman

Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...

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