Report: FBI officials learned of Petraeus affair over summer

Senior officials at the FBI and Justice Department (DOJ) were aware as early as this summer that then-CIA Director David Petraeus was involved in an extramarital affair, according to a report in The New York Times published Monday.

Officials involved in the investigation, though, did not inform anyone outside of the FBI or DOJ until last week, the report says.

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The new timeline is likely to intensify scrutiny from lawmakers who this weekend questioned why they were not told sooner that the nation's top spy was being investigated by the FBI.

In an interview Sunday, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she did not learn about the probe until Friday, when Petraeus stepped down from the CIA, citing his affair.

Feinstein said that the news was “like a lightning bolt” and that the FBI should have notified lawmakers sooner.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Pete King (R-N.Y.) said he also had questions about the FBI’s handling of the matter and questioned when the administration first learned of the probe.

“The FBI should have had an obligation to tell the president,” King said on CNN Sunday, citing national-security concerns. “It just doesn’t add up.”

The White House has said it was notified on Wednesday night that Petraeus might resign over an affair and that Obama was told Thursday morning. 

Reports said the FBI first learned of the affair while investigating a complaint from a woman close to Petraeus who said she was receiving harassing emails.

FBI officers traced the emails to Paula Broadwell, Petraeus’s biographer, and learned about the affair from exchanges between the author and CIA chief. 

Officials say they initially feared that a private email account belonging to Petraeus might have been hacked, compromising national security. But after further investigation, agents found no secrets had been leaked. They notified Petraeus two weeks ago of their probe and said no criminal charges would be filed. 

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), however, said he learned of the affair in late October after an FBI whistleblower raised questions about a possible security breach.

In a letter to The New York Times published Saturday, Cantor said he and Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) were contacted by a whistleblower at the FBI, who told them of the investigation. Cantor’s office reported the conversation to the agency.

This weekend, lawmakers also said that Petraeus, who had been slated to testify before Congress on the September attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, might still be called to Capitol Hill. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the general’s testimony would be “essential” to understanding what happened during the attack and the administration’s response. 

"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 on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”