Ex-CIA Director-desigate Gen. David Petraeus testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington in 2011.(Photo: Cliff Owen, AP)
WASHINGTON -- Former CIA Director David Petraeus is preparing to
field questions from lawmakers about the attack on the U.S. Consulate in
Libya, his appearance on Capitol Hill coming one week after he resigned
over an extramarital affair.
Petraeus is under investigation by
the agency for possible wrongdoing, though that's not the subject of the
closed-door hearings he is set to attend Friday. The September attack
in Benghazi, which killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans,
created a political firestorm, with Republicans claiming that the White
House misled the public on what led to the violence.
spent hours Thursday interviewing top intelligence and national security
officials in trying to determine what the intelligence community knew
before, during and after the Benghazi attack. They viewed security video
from the consulate and surveillance footage by an unarmed CIA Predator
drone that showed events in real time.
Petraeus, who will appear
first before the House Intelligence Committee and then its Senate
counterpart, was expected to provide more details about the U.S.
response to the attack.
"Director Petraeus went to Tripoli and
interviewed many of the people involved," said Senate Intelligence
Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
"I'd like to get his
sense of why it took as long as it did to get more accurate assessments
of what took place in Benghazi," said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a
member of the House Intelligence Committee. As for Petraeus testifying
after his resignation amid a sex scandal, Schiff said, "He's a tough
individual and I am sure he will handle it to the best of his ability."
has acknowledged an affair with a woman later identified as his
biographer, Paula Broadwell. The FBI began investigating the matter last
summer but didn't notify the White House or Congress until after the
In the course of investigating the Petraeus affair, the
FBI uncovered suggestive emails between Afghanistan war chief Gen. John
Allen and Florida socialite Jill Kelley, both of them married. President
Barack Obama has put a promotion nomination for Allen on hold.
national security officials trudged to Capitol Hill on Thursday to
grapple with fallout from the sex scandal as Defense Secretary Leon
Panetta asked service chiefs to review ethics training for military
Lawmakers went forward with a hearing on the nomination
of Gen. Joseph Dunford to replace Allen in Afghanistan. But with Allen's
own future uncertain, they put off consideration of his promotion to
U.S. European Command chief and NATO supreme allied commander. Allen had
initially been scheduled to testify.
officials, meanwhile, met privately with lawmakers for a third straight
day to explain how the Petraeus investigation was handled and explore
its national security implications. Among those appearing before the
House Intelligence Committee were Director of National Intelligence
James Clapper and Acting CIA Director Michael Morell.
Ruppersberger of Maryland, the committee's top Democrat, said after the
hearing that he was satisfied that the FBI had behaved properly in not
notifying the White House or lawmakers about the inquiry sooner, in
keeping with post-Watergate rules set up to prevent interference in
The CIA on Thursday opened an exploratory
investigation into Petraeus' conduct. The inquiry "doesn't presuppose
any particular outcome," said CIA spokesman Preston Golson. At the same
time, Army officials say that, at this point, there is no appetite for
recalling Petraeus to active duty to pursue any adultery charges against
Petraeus, in his first media interview since he resigned,
told CNN that he had never given classified information to Broadwell.
The general's biographer also has said she didn't receive such material
But the FBI found a substantial number of
classified documents on Broadwell's computer and in her home, according
to a law enforcement official, and is investigating how she got them.
That official spoke only on condition of anonymity because the official
was not authorized to speak publicly about the case. The Army has now
suspended her security clearance.