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Analysts Discuss the Petraeus Scandal

By The NewsHour, The NewsHour - November 12, 2012

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JEFFREY BROWN: The downfall of David Petraeus showed no sign of fading into the background today. Instead, there was every indication that his admission of adultery will echo far beyond the end of his career at the CIA.

MAN: A personal scandal forces CIA director David Petraeus to...

BOB SCHIEFFER, Face the Nation": I want to start out with this out-of-the-blue thunderbolt that hit Washington Friday.

JEFFREY BROWN: All weekend in Washington, the details kept coming, along with more questions after David Petraeus' sudden resignation on Friday because he had had an extramarital affair quickly revealed to involve his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Her book came out last January.

And appearing on C-SPAN, she recalled first meeting Petraeus several years earlier.

PAULA BROADWELL, "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus": He came to HarvardUniversity, where I was a graduate student, and wanted to speak to students about the merits of counterinsurgency approach to fighting the Iraq war.

JEFFREY BROWN: Later, researching her book, Broadwell had extensive access to Petraeus during his time as overall commander in Afghanistan.

In August of last year, wife Holly at his side, the four-star general retired from the service and took the CIA post the next month.

Today, the general's former spokesman, retired Col. Steve Boylan, told ABC the affair began then, after he had left the Army, which strictly forbids adultery.

COL. STEVE BOYLAN (RET.), U.S. Army: This all started about two months after he was in the CIA as the director. And just so you know, it also ended about four months ago.

He deeply hurt the family. And he knows that. He acknowledges it. And, right now, his whole focus is going to be geared towards taking care of the family and getting through this.

JEFFREY BROWN: It's been widely reported that the affair was uncovered during an FBI investigation prompted by 37-year-old Jill Kelley of Tampa, Florida, a friend of the Petraeus family.

The general's former associates insist there was no romantic involvement between them.

Even so, according to news accounts, Kelley began getting threatening e-mails from Broadwell. The FBI started investigating last summer and turned up evidence of the Petraeus-Broadwell affair. That in turn raised questions of a possible security breach.

And intelligence officials say the Justice Department informed National Intelligence Director James Clapper last week on Election Day. He then telephoned Petraeus and asked him to resign.

On Thursday, the general went to the White House to meet with President Obama, and his formal resignation followed on Friday. Since then, key members of Congress have complained that they should have been notified much earlier that something was up.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Democrat Dianne Feinstein appeared on FOX News yesterday.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, D-Calif.: We received no advance notice. It was like a lightning bolt the way I found out. I came back to Washington Thursday night. Friday morning, the staff director told me there were a number of calls from press about this.

This is something that could have had an effect on national security. I think we should have been told.

JEFFREY BROWN: And on CNN, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Republican Congressman Peter King, also raised concerns.

REP. PETER KING, R-N.Y.: It just doesn't add up that you have this type of investigation, the FBI investigating e-mails, the e-mails leading to the CIA director and taking four months to find out that the CIA director was involved. So, I have real questions about this. I think a timeline has to be looked at and analyzed to see what happened.

JEFFREY BROWN: On Wednesday, the Petraeus resignation will be the topic of discussion when Intelligence Committee leaders meet with FBI and CIA officials.

GWEN IFILL: So, for more on all of this, we look at the story from different angles.

Frederick Hitz is a former CIA inspector general who's now an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel John Nagl has known David Petraeus for over two decades and he teaches at the U.S. Naval Academy.

And Sari Horwitz is an investigative reporter at The Washington Post.

Sari, we have watched shoes dropping on this all weekend. What new have we learned today?

SARI HORWITZ, The Washington Post: Hi, Gwen.

We're now learning a little bit more about how this investigation started and more of what the FBI found. I mean, there have been a lot of questions of why did the FBI do an investigation into harassing e-mails? I mean, lots of people get harassing e-mails. I get harassing e-mails.

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