by Peter Grady –
Republican lawmakers have said that CIA Director, former General David Petraeus will still be required to testify before Congress about the department’s role in the Benghazi incident, calling his testimony “essential.”
Last Friday, General David Petraeus suddenly announced he was stepping down from his post as head of the Central Intelligence Agency. The resignation came as Petraeus was scheduled to testify before a Congressional committee over events in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the death of four Americans including a US ambassador.
Officials quickly announced that Petraeus would not be testifying, despite his having direct knowledge of the event. Instead they would be sending up acting CIA Director Michael Morrell in Petraeus’ place.
The meeting will be held behind closed doors and is expected to discuss questions about the attack including why officials insisted for weeks that an American filmmaker was to blame for the attacks, despite being told almost immediately that the attack was the work of terrorists.
Other questions regard the lack of aid for those Americans who were being attacked despite multiple requests for help. Obama claimed in an interview with 9News in Denver that he immediately ordered military action.
“The minute I found out what was happening… I gave the directive to make sure we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to do,” Obama said. “I guarantee you everybody in the CIA and military knew the number one priority was making sure our people are safe.”
The news media reported that Petraeus resigned over an extra-marital affair he had with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Obama accepted the resignation, praising Petraeus for his service to the nation.
The resignation was a shock to many in Washington where adultery is not considered to be a serious problem. Former president Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky was defended by members of his own party who said the issue was a personal matter and had no bearing on his job performance.
The FBI discovered the affair after another woman, identified as Jill Kelley complained she had been getting harassing emails from Broadwell. As part of the investigation, the FBI examined Broadwell’s email account and discovered the affair with Petraeus.
Questions have surrounded the timing of the resignation causing some to speculate it was intended to prevent Petraeus from testifying before Congress.
If so, it appears Republican lawmakers are not going to allow that to happen.
Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the timing was suspicious.
“It seems this [investigation] has been going on for several months, and yet now it appears that they’re saying the FBI did not realize until Election Day that Gen. Petraeus was involved. It just doesn’t add up,” King said.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that Petraeus’ testimony was key to finding out what happened in Benghazi.
“I don’t see how in the world you can find out what happened in Benghazi before, during and after the attack if Gen. Petraeus doesn’t testify,” Graham said.
Appearing in CNN’s “Erin Burnett Out Front” said Petraeus was “an absolutely essential witness, maybe more than anyone else.
“I don’t see how in the world you can find out what happened in Benghazi before, during and after the attack if Gen. Petraeus doesn’t testify. David Petraeus testifying has nothing to do with whether or not he’s still the CIA director, and I don’t see how the CIA can say he’s not going to testify,” King said. “I think his testimony is certainly valuable, it’s certainly necessary. He was at the center of this and he has answers that only he has.”
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