Questions Mount in Wake of Petraeus Resignation

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by
Common Dreams

Questions Mount in Wake of Petraeus Resignation

New information leads to desire for better answers as accusations fly over who knew what and when

by
Common Dreams staff

David Petraeus at his confirmation hearing. The former general was to testify before a Congressional hearing on Thursday. (Photograph: Paul J Richards/AFP)

Friday's resignation of CIA Director and retired Four Star General David Petraeus allowed for a weekend of speculation, revelations, and more questions about the timeline of the extramarital affair that ended the career of the much venerated spy chief. Moreover, the trickle of information now available has many asking what other government officials knew about Petraeus' behavior and when they knew it.

The Associated Press reports:

As questions swirl about the extramarital affair that led to the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus, the retired general and his biographer, Paula Broadwell, have been quiet about details of their relationship. However, information has emerged about the woman who received the emails from Broadwell that led to the FBI's discovery of Petraeus' indiscretion.

A senior U.S. military official identified the second woman as Jill Kelley, 37, who lives in Tampa, Fla., and serves as an unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where the military's Central Command and Special Operations Command are located.

In a statement Sunday, Kelley and her husband, Scott, said: "We and our family have been friends with Gen. Petraeus and his family for over five years. We respect his and his family's privacy and want the same for us and our three children."

The military official who identified Kelley spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation. He said Kelley had received harassing emails from Broadwell, which led the FBI to examine her email account and eventually discover her relationship with Petraeus. The FBI contacted Petraeus and other intelligence officials, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper asked Petraeus to resign.

A former associate of Petraeus confirmed the target of the emails was Kelley, but said there was no affair between the two, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the retired general's private life. The associate, who has been in touch with Petraeus since his resignation, said Kelley and her husband were longtime friends of Petraeus and his wife, Holly.

Attempts to reach Kelley were not successful. Broadwell did not return phone calls or emails.

The New York Times reports on Monday that FBI officials discovered the possibility of Petraeus' extramarital affair near the end of summer, but were cautious not to make the situation widely known until they had more information. According to the Times:

[...] Law enforcement officials did not notify anyone outside the F.B.I. or the Justice Department until last week because the investigation was incomplete and initial concerns about possible security breaches, which would demand more immediate action, did not appear to be justified, the officials said.

The new accounts of the events that led to Mr. Petraeus’s sudden resignation on Friday shed light on the competing pressures facing F.B.I. agents who recognized the high stakes of any investigation involving the C.I.A. director but who were wary of exposing a private affair with no criminal or security implications. For the first time Sunday, the woman whose report of harassing e-mails led to the exposure of the affair was identified as Jill Kelley, 37, of Tampa, Fla.

Some members of Congress have protested the delay in being notified of the F.B.I.’s investigation of Mr. Petraeus until just after the presidential election. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and the chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that her committee would “absolutely” demand an explanation. An F.B.I. case involving the C.I.A. director “could have had an effect on national security,” she said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I think we should have been told.”

The Guardian reports:

Intelligence officials have suggested that Petraeus was first questioned over the nature of his relationship with Broadwell a fortnight ago.

But it was only on the night of the presidential election that national intelligence director James Clapper was notified of the affair. It is thought that Clapper then advised the CIA chief to resign.

Even then, it was not until the next day that the White House was informed of the situation. It then took a further day before newly re-elected President Barack Obama was told that his intelligence chief was to tender his resignation.

Meanwhile, the Senate intelligence committee only heard about the matter on Friday, just hours before the CIA director announced he was to step down.

Further confusing the time-line of events were reports on Sunday that leading House Republican Eric Cantor had been informed by an FBI whistle-blower of the brewing Petraeus scandal two weeks ago.

If true, it would raise the prospect that the affair had become known in Washington circles before Friday's resignation.

House Republican King said on Sunday that the account of who knew what and when "doesn't add up", saying that there were a lot of unanswered questions.

The FBI had an "obligation" to tell the president as soon as they had identified a possible security breach, he told CNN's State of the Union.

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