Former CIA director David Petraeus confessed to making some “big mistakes” by having an extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell, but said he never allowed her access to classified documents or information, according to Fox News Channel’s national security correspondent on Saturday.
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge reported that the former four-star general insisted he never passed any classified information to Paula Broadwell, a concern of many in Washington, D.C., since the Obama administration has been plagued with numerous incidents of intelligence leaks, most of them to the news organizations.
Suspicions arose when Ms. Broadwell gave a lecture in Denver in which she claimed the Benghazi attack was launched in order to rescue two militants who were being detained by the CIA at the U.S. Consulate annex.
“Where did she get that piece of information? That’s what set off alarm bells and gave the investigation a new avenue to explore,” said former intelligence officer and police detective Mike Snopes. “It’s well-known within the military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies that the CIA is no longer permitted to detain and interrogate prisoners by order of President Obama,” Snopes said.
Petraeus denied his resignation was linked to the attack on the U.S. Consulate, Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, on Sept. 11, 2012.
The former CIA director testified on Friday before both House and Senate committees in closed-door sessions regarding the Benghazi attack and murders of Americans, as well as fielding questions regarding the aftermath and alleged cover-up in the weeks following the deadly attack.
Petraeus, a retired general who served more than 37 years in the U.S. Army, took the office as CIA director in September, 2011. While a four-star general, he was in-charge of all coalition forces in Iraq and later he led the military campaign in Afghanistan.
Media reports said the Federal Bureau of Investigation began investigating the allegation of an illicit sexual relationship between Petraeus and Broadwell when Jill Kelley, a supposed friend of Petraeus, became the complainant in an FBI investigation into anonymous, threatening email messages. FBI agents traced the emails to Broadwell and then discovered that Broadwell was Petraeus’ secret paramour.
Lawmakers in both houses of Congress and both sides of the aisle have sharply condemned the FBI for not informing congressional intelligence and homeland security panels about the Petraeus investigation.
President Barack Obama said during his first press conference in eight months on Wednesday that there exists “no evidence” that the sex scandal involving Petraeus adversely effected U.S. national security.
Kelley, a social liaison at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, was also reported to have close relations with both Petraeus and Gen. John Allen, commanding officer of the U.S. troops and International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that Allen is also being investigated for alleged “inappropriate communications” with Kelley. Due to the pending investigation, Allen’s nomination to the NATO commander has been put on hold, Fox News’ Catherine Herridge reported.