WASHINGTON – Senior lawmakers called for an inquiry into the FBI’s handling of the case of CIA Director David Petraeus on Sunday as new details and questions emerged about the investigation that led to his resignation last week.
Law enforcement sources identified Jill Kelley, 37, of Tampa, Fla., as the woman whose report of harassing emails eventually exposed an extramarital affair between Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, a former Army officer who wrote a biography of the retired four-star general.
The departure in disgrace of one of the administration’s most respected and prominent figures came as President Obama is reorganizing his national security team for a second term. Petraeus was to have been a primary witness this week at a series of closed-door congressional hearings on possible intelligence and security lapses surrounding the September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Sunday that news of the resignation was like a lightning bolt and that top lawmakers had not been aware the investigation was under way.
Her first inkling, Feinstein said on Fox News Sunday, came from media inquiries Friday, just hours before Petraeus’ resignation was announced publicly.
This is something that could have had an effect on national security, Feinstein said. I think we should have been told.
She said the committee would absolutely investigate why the FBI did not notify relevant officials sooner.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said: It just doesn’t add up that you have this type of investigation. The FBI is investigating emails, the emails leading to the CIA director, taking four months to find out that the CIA director was involved.
The FBI investigation began after Kelley visited the bureau’s Tampa office in early summer and provided investigators with harshly worded e-mails accusing her of seeking an intimate relationship with Petraeus. Kelley, who is married to a Tampa surgeon, met the general when he was head of the U.S. Central Command, from 2008 to 2010. A military official said she was an unpaid volunteer at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where the headquarters are located.
Federal law enforcement officials said they did not know the nature of the relationship between Kelley and Petraeus other than that they were social friends.
The Kelleys have hired Abbe Lowell, a prominent Washington, D.C., lawyer, and Judy Smith, a crisis manager, who declined to confirm that Kelley was the recipient of the e-mails.
Smith issued a statement Sunday on behalf of the Kelleys, which said: We and our family have been friends with General Petraeus and his family for over five years. We respect his and his family’s privacy and want the same for us and our three children.