According to the New York Times, high-level FBI officials and the Justice Department knew about Gen. David Petraeus’s extramarital affair in the late summer.
Law enforcement officials did not notify anyone outside of the Justice Department or FBI until last week because the investigation was incomplete. There were also concerns about potential security breaches.
Petraeus’s affair was uncovered when emails began arriving in social planner Jill Kelley‘s inbox in May. Kelley told the FBI about the emails, which she said were harassing, US officials said. The investigation, which was led over a period of several months, led back to Gen. Petraeus’s biographer Paula Broadwell.
The FBI had been investigating what they believed was a potential cybercrime or a breach of classified information. Instead they found sexually explicit emails between Petraeus and Broadwell. Both used private Gmail accounts for their communications, and Petraeus used a pseudonym.
The investigation began with five to 10 emails that Kelley had received, but the nature of her relationships with Petraeus and Broadwell were unknown Sunday, according to the Times. However, we reported earlier that Kelley and her husband had been friends with Petraeus for over five years.
Kelley said the emails appeared to be accusing her of an inappropriate relationship, but they didn’t specify Petraeus. The FBI determined that the emails has been sent from an account Broadwell shared with her husband, but it took them weeks to figure out that she had been the one sending them.
The link between Broadwell and Petraeus was finally uncovered by late summer, and prosecutors and agents notified senior officials at the FBI and the Justice Department. A legal analysis was made in September as to whether there any charges that could be brought.
Petraeus and Broadwell both admitted to the affair, and Broadwell turned over her computer. On it investigators found classified documents, which Petraeus said he did not give her. Broadwell confirmed that she did not receive them from Petraeus.
Some lawmakers are criticizing the FBI and the Obama administration, including Attorney General Eric Holder, for their handling of the situation. Holder knew about the email link to Petraeus as far back as late summer, and a House Republican leader found out about the link in October. Some are split as to whether Petraeus should have resigned or not and if Congress should have been notified sooner.
The affair between Broadwell and Petraeus ended more than four months ago and did not necessarily disqualify Petraeus from his position as director of the CIA. He chose to step down because the CIA would have viewed the relationship as improper and believed the director should set an example by accepting personal responsibility.
Do you think Petraeus should have resigned due to the affair?