OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Petraeus, Allen and Libya dominate lawmakers' first day back

The White House on Tuesday said President Obama was “certainly surprised” to hear about Petraeus's resignation two days after winning his second term in office, according to press secretary Jay Carney. Carney emphasized that the FBI has “protocols in place” to deal with such situations, and that it was “a fact” the White House only learned of Petraeus’s situation the day after the election.

A General problem: On Tuesday, lawmakers on Capitol Hill also addressed the latest wrinkle in the Petraeus affair involving the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Gen. John Allen, who was slated to become the new head of U.S. forces in Europe, became ensnared in the growing scandal when FBI agents investigating Petraeus's relationship with Broadwell unearthed thousands of email messages detailing inappropriate communications between Allen and Petraeus associate Jill Kelley. 

Kelley's initial complaints to the FBI about receiving threatening emails from Broadwell launched an investigation into Petraeus's personal email accounts, which revealed evidence of the affair. 

Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, was "astounded" at the reported 20,000 to 30,000 pages of correspondence between Kelley and Allen uncovered by FBI agents, but added none of the messages indicated "knowledge or evidence of wrongdoing" by the four-star general. When asked what effect DOD's ongoing inquiry into Allen and Kelley's relationship could have on how Allen's post-war plan is received by Congress, Levin replied: "Nothing, unless there is some evidence of wrongdoing." 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Tuesday that she does not "have any reason to think that there are any national security issues at stake in what has transpired," regarding the Petraeus affair or Allen's involvement in the situation. But the California Democrat chided that "it would have been nice to know before we saw it on TV."

Levin sees NDAA after Thanksgiving: Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) is hoping he’ll have reason to be thankful after next week’s holiday, as he said Tuesday that he thinks the National Defense Authorization Ct will be brought to the Senate floor the week after Thanksgiving. Levin told reporters Tuesday that he was assured by leadership the long-stalled defense bill would head to the floor when Congress returns following Thanksgiving for the second leg of the lame-duck session.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday that the next two bill’s the Senate would take up would be the security and defense authorization, which might reassure defense watchers worried the 112th Congress was going to break the streak of 50 straight NDAAs signed into law.

McCain won’t get waiver for Armed Services: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he has no plans to seek a wavier to remain the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, a position he will lose next year due to term limits. But McCain, who has been a vocal critic of the F-35 and other big Pentagon weapons program during his tenure as the committee’s ranking member, said Tuesday he will still be just as effective as No. 2.

“I can be just as effective as ranking member or Number Two member,” McCain told reporters. “I wasn’t ranking for a long, long time and I managed to have some influence. I’m sure that even though I’m politically dead, I can still have some reincarnation.”

McCain said he would likely seek an open subcommittee ranking member slot, but didn’t elaborate on which he might be interested in.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: 

— Army General demoted, fined by DOD 

— Afghan postwar plan due to White House in weeks 

— Senate confirmation of Gen. Allen replacement still on track 

— King doubts White House take on Petraeus affair