- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 13, 2012

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.

Lawmakers also said they intend to call on Mr. Petraeus to testify about the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya as soon as this week.

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.

“There are serious questions surrounding this Justice Department’s integrity, similar to those raised during the second term of the Nixon administration,” Mr. Wolf added.

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.”

Mrs. Feinstein was one of several lawmakers visited by Mr. Petraeus‘ successor, acting CIA Director Michael J. Morell, in a series of closed-door meetings Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

“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.

Gen. Allen has denied having an extramarital affair with Mrs. Kelley.

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.

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