Congressional leaders are calling on Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to explain why their agencies kept information about former CIA Director David H. Petraeus‘ extramarital affair from the White House, Congress and the U.S. intelligence community as the scandal expanded and ensnared the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.
The Pentagon inspector general Tuesday opened an investigation of Marine Gen. John Allen after the FBI found “inappropriate” emails among tens of thousands he had sent to a Florida socialite during a cybercrime probe that uncovered Mr. Petraeus‘ affair and forced his resignation last week.
Mr. Holder knew that the FBI investigation had stumbled across evidence of Mr. Petraeus‘ affair weeks ago “but chose not to disclose it until after the presidential election — yet another example of Mr. Holder’s politicized leadership of the Justice Department,” Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican, said in a letter Tuesday to House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican.
Mr. Wolf, who heads a subcommittee that funds the FBI, urged Mr. Boehner to set up a special select committee to investigate the administration’s response to the Benghazi terrorist attack, including the way officials handled the news of Mr. Petraeus‘ affair.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, noted reports that, before his resignation, Mr. Petraeus had traveled to Libya to interview CIA staff about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, in which the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed.
“I want to see if that’s true or not,” Mrs. Feinstein told CNN. “There’s only one way to ascertain that, and that’s to talk to Director Petraeus and do it in a classified setting with the committee present.”
“It’s only natural that acting Director Morell, who already has strong relationships on Capitol Hill, would want to reach out to members right away during this transition period,” a senior U.S. intelligence official said.
A growing scandal
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta asked the Pentagon inspector general to investigate Mr. Allen after the FBI uncovered as many as 30,000 pages of his emails to Florida socialite Jill Kelley, a 37-year-old married mother of three who acted as a volunteer social liaison between U.S. Central Command and the Tampa community.
A defense official said the emails included some that were “inappropriate” and “flirtatious,” but “not security-related.” Mr. Panetta asked for the investigation because not all of the emails — which date from 2010 to 2012 — have been vetted for violations of the military criminal code, the official said.
A senior U.S. official told The Associated Press that those who have read the exchanges between Gen. Allen and Mrs. Kelley found them to be relatively innocuous even though they might be construed as unprofessional and flirtatious.View Entire Story
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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 ...
Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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