FBI Held Petraeus Case To Help Obama: Report
The FBI and Justice Department agreed with a White House decision to hold off on asking CIA Director David Petraeus to resign over an extramarital affair until after the presidential election to help President Obama politically, sources claim.
An FBI investigation started last Spring uncovered e-mail exchanges between Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell, that included graphic descriptions of their relationship, including sex under an office desk.
The relationship is considered a breach of security and would normally be immediate grounds for dismissal. Instead, the FBI investigation continued into Petraeus.
Broadwell broke up with Petraeus at some point after he was appointed to head the CIA on September 6, 2011. He then tried to win her back, perusing her with thousands of e-mails. This prompted FBI officials to judge his competency.
President Obama’s foreign policy achievements were brought into question during the campaign, after the September 11 attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya. After the administration initially blamed an anti-Muslim film for sparking demonstrations that led to the attack, it was later revealed terrorist group Al Queada planned the assault to coincide with the anniversary of September 11, 2001.
Responsibility for security and military assistance failures bogged down the administration and further damaged President Obama. The CIA was initially blamed for refusing aid to the besieged embassy. The spy agency denied the charges, directly contradicting the White House. Two of the Americans killed during the attack were later revealed to be CIA agents, as were a large number of Americans on the ground at the site.
Congressional hearings in October revealed that not only was the State Department aware of several requests for increased security in Benghazi, the department rejected them.
Broadwell acknowledged the affair to FBI agents on October 21, reports the New York Times. Petraeus admitted to the affair a week later during an FBI interview, but denied sharing classified documents with her.
The White House, with the agreement of both the FBI and the Justice Department, agreed to hold off on asking for Petraeus’ resignation until after the election to limit damage to the president’s re-election chances, outraged FBI agents claimed on Monday to conservative media outlet NewsMax. Petraeus, who was expected to testify at a House Foreign Affairs Committee next Thursday on the Benghazi attack, resigned from his position as CIA Director on Friday over the extramarital affair, three days after President Obama won re-election.
The claim contradicts published reports in the Associated Press that administration officials were first notified of the affair on Wednesday, the day after the election, and that Obama wasn’t informed until Thursday morning. The New York Times reports law enforcement officials did not notify anyone outside the FBI or the Justice Department because security breach concerns did not appear justified. James R. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, was notified about the affair about 5 p.m. on Election Day.
“There are a lot of sensitivities in a case like this,” a senior law enforcement official explained to the Times. “There were hints of possible intelligence and security issues, but they were unproven. You constantly ask yourself, ‘What are the notification requirements? What are the privacy issues?’ ”
Senator Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, has demanded an explanation as to why she and others were not notified of the scandal until after the election.
UPDATE (11.13): FOX News explains the series of events that led to the uncovering of the affair:
[….]It all started when another woman, 37-year-old Jill Kelley, a close friend of the Petraeus family, received harassing emails. She then alerted the FBI, where a friend of Kelley’s works, about the emails that appeared to be an attempt to blackmail Petraeus, which started the investigation, sources said.
There were initially questions over where those emails came from, with early indications that they might not have come from Broadwell.
However, Fox News confirmed from multiple law enforcement sources that those emails came from multiple dummy accounts, which were traced back to Broadwell. The reason the FBI had jurisdiction is because cyber-harassment is a federal crime. And once the FBI got to Broadwell, they uncovered the affair.
From there, Fox News has learned, the first knowledge of the affair outside the FBI came from an agency whistle-blower who contacted a Capitol Hill Republican, who then told House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
According to a senior administration official, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper first informed the White House about the situation last Wednesday. From there, Petraeus on Thursday morning called National Security Adviser Tom Donilon to request a meeting with Obama, who was briefed on the situation by staff later that day before taking the meeting in the afternoon.
Petraeus offered his resignation, and Obama accepted on Friday.