Rep. Frank: ‘Troubled’ by lawmakers’ prurient interest in Petraeus scandal

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) on Sunday criticized his fellow lawmakers for their handling of the scandal surrounding the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus, saying they are only interested because it involves sex.

"I think if this was an investigation into David Petraeus's bank account instead of his sex life, all of us would be paying no attention to it. And I'm troubled by the prurience of some of this," he said on CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley. "Privacy doesn't -- shouldn't -- totally disappear."

Many members of Congress have raised questions about the sudden resignation of the CIA director earlier this month, asking why the FBI’s investigation into Petraeus only became public after the presidential election.

Frank argued that lawmakers pressing for more answers on the Petraeus scandal are not being specific enough in their inquiries, and criticized Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), who joined the Massachusetts lawmaker for a group discussion, for her questions over the investigation’s timeline.

Hutchison argued that Congress does not know enough about who was making decisions in the investigation that began with a report of threatening emails, progressed to concern that security had been breached on Petraeus's email account, and ended with his resignation as director of the CIA after admitting to an extramarital affair.

"I have great concerns," she said.

"Excuse me, 'great concerns' is kind of a weasel word," Frank fired back.

"I don't think it's a weasel word," Hutchison said. "That a general who is, uh, very high in our military and the CIA director to all of a sudden have this kind of -- of upheaval, when it appears that the president didn't know until two months later?"

The White House was reportedly informed of the results of the FBI's investigation the day after the election, with Petraeus submitting his resignation almost immediately. The investigation and resignation became public three days after the election.

Hutchison argued for more information, but Frank urged her to be more "explicit" if she is concerned there was wrong-doing.

"Do you distrust the FBI? Is [FBI Director Robert] Mueller lying? Who -- who are accusing of not having done the right thing?" he demanded of Hutchison.

"I've always had great respect for him [Mueller] and great respect for General Petraeus," she said. But the Texas lawmaker maintained that she wants to know who was making the decisions about the investigation, which began at a low level and eventually widened in scope.