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Entries in David Petraeus (19)

Sunday
May262013

Retired General John Allen Recalls Toll of Petraeus-linked Investigation

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Martha Raddatz on This Week, retired Gen. John Allen discussed the toll the Pentagon investigation into emails he exchanged with a Tampa socialite took on him and his wife, Kathy – who was suffering from auto-immune health issues.

“Every phone call was pretty grim. And they were getting worse by the minute…For many years, I had told– Kathy, as we had dealt with these issues, that– the day that this becomes too big, I will drop my letter the next day. She wasn’t going to tell me, but I was afraid where this would all end up [with her health]. And I finally made the decision it was time to go home,” Allen said.

The investigation into Allen, which concluded with him being completely cleared of any wrongdoing, took place after emails between him and Jill Kelley came to light during an investigation into exchanges between then CIA director David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, his biographer. Petraeus later resigned after his affair with Broadwell became public.

Allen told Raddatz the investigation led to personal reflection as he led coalition forces in Afghanistan. He retired last month turning down a NATO command. He now advises Secretary of Defense Hagel on Middle East peace talks.

“I had to reflect on whether I could– I believed I could remain in command. And I believed I could. In fact, I felt an obligation to a duty to remain in command…I had to deal with– the realities of something that was going on back here. I won’t– tell you that– that there wasn’t a lot of pressure in that regard. But my sense of duty to the war effort, and more importantly, my sense of duty to the troops demanded that I remained focused on that,” he said.

“Any time you’re investigated…and you have to remember back across three years– I hadn’t– I didn’t have any concerns about what was in the content of the e-mails…I was just interested in putting it behind me as quickly as we could,” he said.

Kathy Allen expressed surprise over the investigation into emails between her husband and Kelley, who she also was in communication with as well.

She also discussed her concern about the pressure the investigation would place on her husband.

“When someone shares an e-mail with her husband, you know, I thought, ‘Is somebody thinking this is a little odd that, you know, they’re taking this so seriously?’…I have a lot of faith in him. I have a lot of faith in our relationship…My biggest concern was for him because I thought, I don’t know how he can run a war and then have this added pressure,” she said.

Allen later invited Petraeus to his retirement party – saying he couldn’t retire without Petraeus and his wife present given the close relationship between the families.

“Dave and Holly Petraeus are like family…given all that he and I had experienced together, and our families had had together, I couldn’t retire without asking for Dave and Holly Petraeus to be present, ” he said.

Allen added that said he has not discussed the investigation with Petraeus.

“It doesn’t require that we have a conversation about it,” he said.

During the interview with Raddatz, Allen also addressed the current state of affairs in Iraq.

“My fear is that we could see a polarization of the principle elements in Iraq…the increase in violence for all of us that served there, in particular those of us who served in the Anbar Province, which was a really violent area…We don’t want to see it return to that.”

Raddatz asked Allen if the country would be more stable today had the United States kept a military presence in the country.

“I don’t think there’s any question,” Allen said.

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov292012

David Petraeus Tells Friend He 'Screwed Up Royally'

DoD photo by Petty Officer William Selby, U.S. Navy(WASHINGTON) -- One of David Petraeus' closest friends says the former CIA director admitted that he "screwed up royally" by having an affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell.

Brig. Gen. James Shelton has been friends with Petraeus for more than three decades and reached out to him after he resigned from the CIA.  Shelton told ABC News that the former four-star general wrote him a letter recently confessing to the affair.

Petraeus, 60, writes in the letter, "Team Petraeus will survive. ... though [I] have obviously created enormous difficulty for us," according to Shelton.

A former spokesman for Petraeus told ABC News that fury was an inadequate description for Holly Petraeus after learning her husband of 38 years had an affair.

But in the letter, Petraeus writes that his wife is "…once again demonstrating how incredibly fortunate I was to marry her."

Shelton said he has shocked when news of the affair broke.  Shelton says he has never met Broadwell but talked to her on the phone as she worked on the Petraeus biography, All In.  Broadwell thanked Shelton in the book's acknowledgments as "being wonderfully helpful."

Shelton says he found Broadwell engaging.

"I don't think she wove a web around Dave and dragged him in, I don't think that at all.  I think it was mutual," Shelton told ABC News.

The disgraced general also stuck by his decision to step down as head of the CIA, writing, "I paid the price (appropriately) and I sought to do the right thing, at the end of the day."

Neither Broadwell nor Petraeus would comment when ABC News tried to reach them overnight.

However, there are many in Washington who now wonder if Shelton's talking about this letter is the beginning of a carefully choreographed campaign by Petraeus to rehabilitate his image.

Shelton says while he was disappointed in Petraeus' actions, he thinks it was a one-time mistake.

"I believe that Dave Petraeus was that kind of guy.  He wasn't looking for it, it happened," he said.

While it is unclear who may have initiated the affair, what is clear is the scope of their relationship.  An FBI investigation has uncovered hundreds if not thousands of emails exchanged between the two.

The 40-year-old author was stripped of her military security clearance after a federal probe alleged she was storing classified military material at her home.

The FBI found classified material on a computer voluntarily handed over by Broadwell earlier in the investigation.

Prosecutors will now have to determine how important the classified material is before making a final decision on how to proceed.  Authorities could decide to seek disciplinary action against her rather than pursue charges.

Since announcing his resignation from the CIA last month, Petraeus has kept a low profile, only appearing in closed door hearings before the House and Senate intelligence committees to testify about what he learned first-hand about the Sept. 11 attack in the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov212012

Poll: Petraeus’ Image Takes a Hit; Split Views on the FBI’s Approach

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- David Petraeus’ popularity has dropped since the scandal that’s forced him from directorship of the CIA, but still more Americans see him favorably than unfavorably – a better rating than the FBI’s for its handling of the investigation that unearthed his marital infidelity.

Forty-five percent in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll see Petraeus favorably overall, down 10 points from March 2011 and 16 points from his peak in September 2007, both in Gallup surveys. Thirty-two percent see him unfavorably, a new high.

Yet uncovering Petraeus’ behavior – in an investigation that’s prompted discussions about privacy in the digital age – hasn’t won fans for the FBI. Americans divide evenly, 40-39 percent, on the agency’s handling of the matter. The Obama administration, for its part, gets 46-36 percent favorable-unfavorable ratings – more positive than negative, but no great shakes, as might be expected on a subject that’s given new life to the term “tawdry.”

This survey asked first about overall attitudes toward Petraeus, “who recently resigned as director of the CIA,” then next asked about the FBI and Obama administration’s handling of the Petraeus matter. Details on the scandal weren’t provided.

While favorable views of Petraeus are well off their peak of 61 percent, the fact that he’s still seen more positively than negatively is a testament to the goodwill he built as commander of U.S. forces in Iraq during the surge in U.S. forces and his role in the recruitment of Sunni tribes that reduced the spiral of violence there in 2007. There’s also either a withholding of judgment, or a lack of familiarity: Twenty-three percent express no opinion of him personally.

Still, a major change has occurred in particular among Republicans. In mid-September 2007, as then-Gen. Petraeus testified before Congress on U.S. progress in Iraq, 83 percent of Republicans saw him favorably; he was mentioned as a potential presidential candidate for the party. Today his favorable rating among Republicans is 30 points lower.

In the same period, Petraeus has lost 15 points in popularity among independents, to 44 percent. His rating among Democrats, now 43 percent, is unchanged in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.

Among other groups, favorable opinions of Petraeus are 12 to 15 points higher among men, better-off and more-educated adults, with their opposites, in each case, more likely to express no opinion. Among married women he’s rated 39-36 percent, favorable-unfavorable, presumably not counting his wife.

Ratings of the FBI’s reaction to the scandal are more closely related to partisanship. Democrats are more apt to rate the federal agency’s reaction positively than negatively, 48-31 percent, while Republicans are more negative than positive, 55-33 percent. Independents divide about evenly.

Assessments of the Obama administration’s reaction to the situation also are strongly influenced by ideological and partisan predispositions. Democrats, liberals and other groups that are better-disposed toward Obama – nonwhites, younger adults and those who are financially less well-off – see the administration’s reaction more positively, compared with their counterparts.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cell phone Nov. 14-18, 2012, among a random national sample of 1,011 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points. The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by SSRS/Social Science Research Solutions of Media, Pa.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov162012

Ex-CIA Chief Testifies About Benghazi Investigation Behind Closed Doors

DoD photo by Petty Officer William Selby, U.S. Navy(WASHINGTON) -- Disgraced former CIA director Petraeus spent almost four hours in closed-door hearings before the House and Senate intelligence committees Friday morning to testify about what he learned first-hand about the Sept. 11 attack in the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Democratic senators who emerged from the hearing said Petraeus' testimony supported U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.

Rice, who could be nominated for Secretary of State by President Obama, has been accused by Republicans of trying to mislead the country by saying the attack was a spontaneous eruption rather than a failure to defend against a terrorist attack.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Rice was speaking from talking points prepared by the CIA and approved by the intelligence committee.

"The key is that they were unclassified talking points at a very early stage. And I don't think she should be pilloried for this. She did what I would have done or anyone else would have done that was going on a weekend show," Feinstein said. "To say that she is unqualified to be Secretary of State I think is a mistake. And the way it keeps going it's almost as if the intent is to assassinate her character."

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said Petraeus' testimony "clarified some of the issues that were still a little cloudy" over the attacks.

Chambliss said Rice "went beyond" the talking points. "She even mentioned that under the leadership of Barack Obama we had decimated al Qaeda. Well, she knew at that time that al Qaeda was very likely responsible in part or in whole for the death of Ambassador Stevens," he said.

Petraeus was before the House committee for about 90 minutes, and then spent more than two hours before the Senate panel, but Congressional officials made sure that no one else got speak to or even see the former four-star general.

He was brought into the House before reporters were aware of his presence and Capitol Hill police cleared out a passage way from the House to the Senate, even requiring congressional staff to stay out of the hallways and elevators.

Feinstein attributed the heightened security to a concern for Petraeus' well-being.

"The general was both eager and willing to give us his views on this and his experience on it and that is very much appreciated particularly because of the situation. We didn't want to make it any more difficult for him. And you know, you people aren't always the easiest," Feinstein said, speaking to members of the press.

The committees had been pushing to hear from Petraeus about the Benghazi attack, particularly since he traveled to Libya and carried out his own investigation into what happened.

Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the sex scandal that forced Petraeus to abruptly resign was not a factor in the hearing, which was confined to the terror attack that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

"Ten seconds into it, that was off to the side," King said, referring to the scandal.

The congressman said that what Petraeus told the panel "will all be classified other than it was clear it did not arise from a demonstration and it was a terror attack."

King said that Petraeus maintained that he said early on that the ambush was a result of terrorism, but King added that he remembered Petraeus and the Obama administration downplaying the role of an al Qaeda affiliate in the attack in the days after Stevens was killed. The administration initially said the attack grew out of a spontaneous demonstration against a video that lampooned the Prophet Mohammed.

"That is not my recollection" of what Petraeus initially said, King said Friday.

The congressman suggested that pressing Petraeus was awkward at times.

"It's a lot easier when you dislike the guy," King said.

Petraeus resigned last week after disclosing an extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell.

He expressed regret for his affair during his opening statements before the Senate, but the committee was more interested in finding out what Petraeus learned from his trip to Libya in the days after the killings.

The Senate Intelligence Committee met for just under four hours on Thursday, hearing testimony from acting CIA Director Mike Morell and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, among others.

During Thursday's closed-door briefing, the committee members saw a film put together by the National Counterterrorism Center of the events in Benghazi. Also testifying Thursday were FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce, Under Secretary of State for Management Pat Kennedy and National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen.

The week after next, the committee will resume with two full hearings. Feinstein predicted that the committee will then have an open, public hearing.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov162012

Petraeus Testifies for 90 Minutes Before House Panel

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former CIA director David Petraeus slipped into a closed door hearing before the House Intelligence Committee Friday morning to testify about what he learned first-hand about the Sept. 11 attack in the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Petraeus, who traveled to Libya and carried out his own investigation after the Benghazi attack, spoke and was questioned by the committee for about 90 minutes, committee chairman Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said after the hearing.

King said the sex scandal that forced Petraeus to abruptly resign was not a factor in the hearing, which was confined to the terrorist attack that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

"Ten seconds into it, that was off to the side," King said, referring to the scandal.

The congressman said that what Petraeus told the panel "will all be classified other than it was clear it did not arise from a demonstration and it was a terror attack."

King said that Petraeus maintained that he said early on that the ambush was a result of terrorism.  King added that he remembered Petraeus and the Obama administration downplaying the role of an al Qaeda affiliate in the attack in the days after Stevens was killed.  The administration initially said the attack grew out of a spontaneous demonstration against a video that lampooned the Prophet Mohammed.

"That is not my recollection" of what Petraeus initially said, King said on Friday.

The congressman suggested that pressing Petraeus was awkward at times.  "It's a lot easier when you dislike the guy," King said.

Petraeus resigned last week after disclosing an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov162012

Intelligence Committees Hold Hearings into Benghazi Attack

STR/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- The House and Senate Intelligence Committees began closed-door hearings Thursday on the deadly Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, with lawmakers hearing testimony from CIA acting director Mike Morell, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and others.

The hearings included the screening of video from a number of sources that captured the attack as it unfolded.  The footage also included video shot from an unmanned aerial drone.

After more than four hours behind closed doors, Senate Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein emerged and said a lot of light was shown on the situation by the testimony from military and diplomatic officials, but she declined to offer an opinion, saying the fact-finding continues.  Feinstein stated that there would be several more closed-door sessions.

On Friday morning, former CIA Director David Petraeus will testify behind closed doors about the attack on Benghazi.  The retired Army general, who once commanded U.S. forces in Afghanistan, reportedly is eager to set out a timeline of events leading up to and during the deadly attack.

In late October, Petraeus traveled to Libya to conduct his own review of the Benghazi attack.  While in Tripoli, he personally questioned the CIA station chief and other CIA personnel who were in Benghazi when the attack occurred.

Petraeus is not expected to discuss his resignation or his affair with Paula Broadwell.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov152012

Gen. David Petraeus to Testify on Libya Attacks

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former CIA director David Petraeus is set to head to Capitol Hill on Friday to testify before the House Intelligence Committee about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that led to multiple deaths.

Petraeus, who resigned last week after disclosing an extramarital affair, is expected to defend the CIA's actions during the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

The retired Army general, who once commanded U.S. forces in Afghanistan, is reportedly eager to set out a timeline of events leading up to and during the deadly attack.

Spokesmen for the committee have said that the hearing will be closed to the public. Petraeus is not expected to discuss his resignation or the affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.

Also on Friday, Petraeus will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Senate announced Thursday morning.  That hearing will be a closed session as well.

Adm. William H. McRaven, the head of U.S. Special Operations Command and the planner of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2010, on Wednesday night called Petraeus "an American hero."  The praise came at The Hero Summit, an event sponsored by Newsweek-Daily Beast honoring the military.

"[Petraeus ] was the finest general I ever worked for, period." McRaven said, adding, "I don't condone what he did, because Holly Petraeus is also a great American hero."

During the interview with Charlie Rose, McRaven also touched on Gen. John Allen, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and the second top military official, who has become embroiled on the Petraeus scandal for his relationship with Florida socialite Jill Kelley, who received threatening emails from Broadwell.  McRaven said he believes Allen's veracity will shine through.

Allen, a four-star Marine general, is being investigated by the Pentagon's inspector general for "potentially inappropriate" emails with Kelley, a Tampa, Fla.-area military supporter.

"[Allen is] the finest officer in the U.S. military right now, and he is a man of incredible integrity, and I think the facts will bear that out," McRaven said.

President Obama said earlier this week that he continues to have "faith" in Allen, according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov152012

FBI Chief Briefs Select Lawmakers on Petraeus Events

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- FBI Director Robert Mueller had a 90-minute closed-door meeting on Wednesday with Rep. Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, to brief the lawmaker on the events that led to the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus.  

The meeting was also attended by Maryland Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the ranking Democratic member of the committee, and FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce.

CIA acting director Mike Morrell was also on Capitol Hill to brief the two lawmakers.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein and ranking GOP member Saxby Chambliss were also briefed on the Petraeus matter by Mueller.

After their meeting, Feinstein and Chambliss issued a joint statement: “Today we received a comprehensive briefing from FBI Director Robert Mueller and Deputy Director Sean Joyce on the events that led to the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus.  They answered our questions.  Because this is an ongoing FBI investigation, we will have no further comment.”

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont met with Mueller, as well.

The Intelligence and Judiciary committees have oversight of the FBI.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov142012

Some Congress Members Still Want Petraeus to Testify on Benghazi

Department of Defense photo by Cherie Cullen/Released(WASHINGTON) -- While the FBI was investigating the director of the CIA, a top U.S. general and a Florida socialite, Congress was -- for a while -- left in the dark.  The affair only came to light when a whistleblower called his congressman.

The scandal that led to the resignation of David Petraeus and put a hold on the Senate confirmation of a top U.S. general has raised questions about the separation of powers, and has caused some lawmakers to bristle that they were not told of the FBI's investigation sooner.

Brian Darling, senior government fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said some members of Congress were relying on the media for information that they should have been briefed on.

The sex scandal has also robbed intelligence committees of Petraeus' testimony about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.  That attack claimed the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.  Petraeus had personally flown to Libya on a fact-finding mission in late October.

Top voices on the Hill are divided over what Gen. David Petraeus' next steps should be.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters it remained to be seen whether Congress should have been informed about the FBI investigation into Petraeus' extramarital affair earlier, but said she expected it was not of high enough importance to require they be briefed.

"I think there's some answers that we have to have about notification to Congress.  I don't have any reason to think that there are any national security issues at stake in what has transpired," Pelosi said at a ceremony welcoming new Democrats to Congress.  "I think some dishonorable things were done, and the honorable thing has to be to resign or not to go forward."

But Darling said Pelosi was wrong in saying Petraeus' personal indiscretion did not affect national security.

"Clearly, Congress should have been informed, and there's evidence that some members of Congress were informed before the elections," Darling said.  "A scandal like that, which could impact the way that a CIA director operates, should be shared with Congress."

Pelosi did not mention the one aspect of Petraeus' affair that plagues many of her colleagues: his exclusion from testimony on the attack in Benghazi.

Republican senators and representatives -- and at least one top Democrat -- have urged the former Afghanistan general to testify, despite his resignation from his post as CIA director.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said it was "absolutely imperative" for the Senate to hear from Petraeus.

"There are so many unanswered questions at this point," Collins said outside her office Tuesday morning.  "I will say that it is absolutely imperative that Gen. Petraeus come and testify.  He was CIA director at the time of the attack.  He visited Libya after the attack.  He has a great deal of information that we need in order to understand what went wrong."

Petraeus was scheduled to testify at a Senate Intelligence hearing on Benghazi, set for 2:30 p.m. Thursday, but because of his resignation in light of the disclosure of his affair with biographer Paula Broadwell, Petraeus will no longer speak.  Acting CIA Director Mike Morell will appear in his place at the closed-door hearing.

Senate Intelligence Committee members are likely to meet casually on Wednesday to discuss what to do next regarding Petraeus, according to an aide to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.  But so far, no additional meetings or hearings have been scheduled in regards to Petraeus' extramarital affair, nor Benghazi.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov142012

Obama to Hold First Post-Election News Conference

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama faces the press on Wednesday for the first time since his re-election amid the sexual scandal surrounding former CIA Director David Petraeus.  And with the clock ticking toward the looming "fiscal cliff," both topics are expected to take center stage.

Wednesday will mark Obama's 20th formal solo White House news conference -- his first since March.

Since then, however, the president has fielded questions in a variety of other capacities.  He last took questions from the White House press corps at an impromptu press conference in the briefing room in August, when the bulk of the questions revolved around the heated presidential campaign.

Before that, Obama answered a handful of reporters' questions following a briefing room statement on the economy in June, when he said "the private sector is doing fine" and set off a brief ruckus on the campaign trail.  Later that month, at the G20 summit in Mexico, the president answered six questions from three reporters on the European debt crisis, the conflict in Syria and the notion of politics stopping at the water's edge.

The president has also responded to the occasional shouted question from a White House reporter.  Last month, after delivering a statement on Hurricane Sandy, the president answered a question about how the storm was affecting the election.

In the run-up to the election, the president gave interviews to talk shows and entertainment magazines, including US Weekly, Jay Leno, MTV and Rolling Stone.

Before he opens it up for questions Wednesday, the president is expected to deliver a brief opening statement on his efforts to reach a bipartisan agreement to reduce the deficit and prevent the economy from going over the "fiscal cliff" of spending cuts and tax increases set to take effect on Jan 1.

The president has said he wants to preserve tax breaks for the middle class but has vowed to veto any bill that extends the Bush-era tax cuts for the top 2 percent of income earners.

Obama, who has said he is "open to compromise," is expected to urge House Republicans to pass the Senate bill that would extend tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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