Defense & National Security

Committees: Benghazi hearings proceed without Petraeus

Committees: Benghazi hearings proceed without Petraeus

Amid shocking revelations that CIA director David Petraeus resigned his post in the wake of an extramarital affair, staff at the House and Senate Intelligence Committeess said hearings at which Petraeus was supposed to testify regarding deadly attacks in Benghazi, Libya are expected to proceed as scheduled.

According to breaking news reports Friday, Petraeus sent a letter of resignation to President Barack Obama, effective immediately, admitting “poor judgment” in conducting an extramarital affair.

“Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours,” Petraeus wrote in the letter, obtained by the Wall Street Journal.

This alleged personal scandal comes on the heels of allegations that Petraeus, a four-star Army general and former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, may have failed to respond adequately to calls for help from CIA operatives amid the terrorist attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans on Sept. 11.

Petraeus was among a panel of security leaders, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and National Counterterrorism Center director Matthew Olson, set to testify Thursday in a closed-door hearing of the House Intelligence Committee, according to a witness list released yesterday.

Following Petraeus’s announcement, a spokeswoman for the committee said that the hearing is expected to proceed as scheduled, though the CIA director’s immediate resignation will likely change the witness list. It’s not immediately clear if the CIA will send a replacement witness to testify, though CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell, now acting director is reportedly in line for Petraeus’s position.

Updated 4:20: A Senate Intelligence Committee spokesman tells Human Events that Morell will testify in Petraeus’s place at a closed-door hearing for that committee on Benghazi matters, also scheduled for Thursday.

This afternoon, Obama also released a statement, which congratulated Petraeus on his service but did not hint at political controversy.

“David Petraeus has provided extraordinary service to the United States for decades,” he said, “By any measure, he was one of the outstanding General officers of his generation, helping our military adapt to new challenges, and leading our men and women in uniform through a remarkable period of service in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he helped our nation put those wars on a path to a responsible end.”

Petraeus has been a well-respected figure on both sides of the political aisle. The Drudge Report hinted earlier in the campaign season that Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney might pick the general for his vice presidential running mate, while others theorized he might be an exciting, if unexpected, choice for Secretary of State in a Romney administration.

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