Defense & National Security

Petraeus to testify voluntarily before Congress

Petraeus to testify voluntarily before Congress

Todd Starnes of Fox News reports via Twitter that his network has learned former CIA Director David Petraeus, who resigned after his affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell became public, will voluntarily testify before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees about the Benghazi debacle.

His testimony had initially been canceled due to his resignation, a state of affairs that displeased many in Congress.  Most of this displeasure emanated from Republicans, but there was at least one very prominent Democrat, Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, who said that testimony from Acting CIA Director Mike Morell would not be “sufficient,” and her committee needed to talk with Petraeus, “one way or the other.”

There are two scandals chugging through Washington on parallel tracks now, the fast-moving Petraeus Sex Fireball and the much slower, less glamorous freight train known as the Benghazi Stand Down… which has been known to hit a few nasty “bumps in the road.”   Some fear that the attention paid to the juicy Petraeus scandal – which has already generated a thousand times as much media coverage as four dead Americans in Libya – will distract Congress from asking the tough questions that really should have been placed before the American public before the election.

Some suspect that’s the entire reason for the timely detonation of the Petraeus scandal, which expanded very rapidly from humble origins: a Florida socialite whose complaints about anonymous email harassment swiftly grew into a tornado that absorbed the FBI, CIA, and Pentagon.  And now it’s given birth to another scandal, involving said Florida socialite, Jill Kelley, and Petraeus’ successor as commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen.

There are very serious questions to be asked about this salacious business, in addition to the serious questions about Benghazi.  Fox News reports that Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, has written letters to FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General Eric Holder asking what they knew, when they knew it, and why nobody informed either Congress or (supposedly) the White House about a situation with serious implications for national security:

“Since the resignation of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director David Petraeus on Friday, Nov 9, it has become clear that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began an investigation this summer that uncovered his extramarital affair with a journalist as well as possible breaches of security,” he wrote. “However, White House and Congressional officials were reportedly first notified of the investigation and (its) connection to General Petraeus just last week.”

Smith said he wants “clarification” on the timeline.

Lawmakers are also openly questioning when Petraeus first knew about the investigation — and whether it impacted his statements to Congress on Sept. 14 about the Libya terror attack.

Petraeus briefed lawmakers that day that the attack was akin to a flash mob, and some top lawmakers noted to Fox News he seemed “wedded” to the administration’s narrative that it was a demonstration spun out of control.

One way or the other, it seems like some very important people have been “compromised” by these affairs.  And besides the obvious threats to classified information, don’t people like Petraeus and General Allen have important jobs that they really shouldn’t be distracted from performing?

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