Nov 12, 2012 No Comments ›› Dinah Tellya
Excerpted from Fox News: Attorney General Eric Holder was notified in late summer that then-CIA Director David Petraeus’ name had surfaced in the FBI probe that ultimately uncovered Petraeus’ affair, raising questions about whether Holder would have — or should have — informed President Obama.
According to the administration’s version of events, the president did not find out about the situation until last Thursday. At the time that Holder was notified, months earlier, many details were still unknown. Petraeus himself was not interviewed until the fall. And according to one source, it is long-standing FBI policy for the FBI not to brief Congress or the White House in the middle of a criminal probe that does not involve a security threat.
However, several lawmakers and other officials say the mere fact that Petraeus was flagged in an investigation should have been reason enough to kick the issue up from the Justice Department to the White House.
“He was the director of the CIA, not Fish & Wildlife. The implications are massive,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told FoxNews.com in an email. Chaffetz said the heads of the House and Senate intelligence committees should have been looped in. “Notification should have also gone to the president — immediately,” Chaffetz said.
Top congressional lawmakers, including the leaders of key committees, have raised concerns that they weren’t notified earlier.
But John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under the George W. Bush administration, said the bigger question surrounds whether the White House was notified.
“The idea that the White House didn’t learn of this potential problem until Election Day, I just find incomprehensible. Did the attorney general sit on this information for two months?” he asked. Bolton said it raises the question “of whether the information was suppressed.”
The Justice Department declined to comment for this story.
The law states that intelligence officials “shall” notify the congressional intelligence committees of “all intelligence activities.” It could be argued that this didn’t rise to such a level, technically. After all, Fox News confirms that when mistress Paula Broadwell’s second and final interview with the FBI was conducted the Friday before the election, they were able to formally conclude no crimes had been committed. While some classified documents were found on her computer, there was no information indicating Petraeus was the source.