Petraeus may still testify on Benghazi


Despite an adultery scandal that ended David Petraeus’s tenure as CIA director, the general may be called to testify in a US Senate inquiry into the killing of four Americans at the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, senator Dianne Feinstein said yesterday.

Ms Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, said on the Fox News Sunday programme that Gen Petraeus’s resignation on Friday “was like a lightning bolt”.

She said there would be an investigation into why the FBI failed to inform her and others on the intelligence committee before Friday about the extramarital affair between Gen Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell, when the FBI investigation had been proceeding for weeks.

The California Democrat said there was no connection between Gen Petraeus’s resignation and the September 11th, 2012, killings in Benghazi. Gen Petraeus had been scheduled to testify about the Benghazi case on Thursday in a closed session of the committee; Mike Morrell, the acting CIA director, is now expected to do so.

Ms Feinstein said the committee might decide to call Gen Petraeus in a future meeting of the intelligence panel on the Benghazi killings. Four US citizens were killed, including ambassador Christopher Stevens.

“My biggest concern is, there are literally hundreds of threat warnings in the material that has been accumulated,” Ms Feinstein said. “There were five attacks during the year, one prior attack on the consulate itself. The question I have is . . . why wasn’t something done about it?”

US congressman Peter King, the Republican chairman of the House homeland security committee, raised questions about why it took FBI investigators so long to inform US president Barack Obama and others in his administration that Gen Petraeus was involved.

“The timeline has to be looked at and analysed,” Mr King said on CNN’s State of the Union. “Because obviously this was a matter involving a potential compromise of security and the president should have been told about it at the earliest stage.”

Republican senator Lindsey Graham said he was ready to turn the page on the scandal that prompted Gen Petraeus to resign, but said the former general must testify before Congress about what he called a “national security failure” at Benghazi.

Mr Graham called for a Watergate-style joint select committee of members of the House and Senate to investigate the matter. – (Reuters)