Evidence points to no security risk in Petraeus affair

Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:49pm EST
 

By Mark Hosenball and Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Classified material kept by the woman who conducted an affair with former CIA Director David Petraeus predates their liaison and does not come from the spy agency, sources briefed on the investigation told Reuters on Thursday.

The finding appears to bolster assertions by both Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell, that their affair did not put national security secrets at risk - a central question hovering over the scandal that brought down one of the United States' most respected public figures last week.

The CIA said on Thursday it had opened an "exploratory" investigation into Petraeus' conduct, building on the FBI's probe. Law enforcement officials have said they believe the FBI investigation is likely to end without criminal charges.

The scandal has cast a spotlight on the private lives of some of the nation's top national security officials.

The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Marine General John Allen, now faces a Pentagon inspector general's review of what sources describe as "flirtatious" emails with a Tampa socialite.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered the military's top brass to look for any gaps in ethics amid concerns officers' lapses in judgment could erode public confidence in the military. Traveling in Bangkok, Panetta said he knew of no other military officials who have been drawn into the investigation.

Petraeus and Broadwell have separately told investigators they did not share security secrets, and Petraeus has repeated that assertion to associates and a television reporter.

In his first public comments on the matter, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday the FBI did not see any possible threats over the course of the investigation that were urgent enough to notify President Barack Obama or lawmakers until shortly before Petraeus stepped down.   Continued...

 
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency General David Petraeus attends the Allen & Co Media Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho July 12, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart