Fox News reports that Former CIA Director David Petraeus has agreed to testify before the House and Senate intelligence committees about the terror attack in Benghazi, Libya in which four Americans were murdered, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
While Petraeus prepares to give his side, lawmakers have begun to openly question when Petraeus first knew about the investigation that uncovered his affair -- and whether it impacted his statements to Congress on Sept. 14 about the Libya terror attack.
Petraeus briefed lawmakers that day that the attack was akin to a flash mob, and some top lawmakers noted to Fox News he seemed "wedded" to the administration's narrative that it was a demonstration spun out of control. The briefing appeared to conflict with one from the FBI and National Counterterrorism Center a day earlier in which officials said the intelligence supported an Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda-affiliated attack.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told Fox News he now questions whether Petraeus' statements -- which were in conflict with both the FBI briefing and available raw intelligence -- were in any way impacted by the knowledge the FBI was investigating his affair with Broadwell.
Charles Krauthammer, for one, thinks Petraeus's testimony was "impacted" and in a deliberate way.
KRAUTHAMMER: Of course it was being held over Petraeus’s head, and the sword was lowered on Election Day. You don’t have to be a cynic to see that as the ultimate in cynicism. As long as they needed him to give the administration line to quote Bill, everybody was silent. And as soon as the election’s over, as soon as he can be dispensed with, the sword drops and he’s destroyed. I mean, can you imagine what it’s like to be on that pressure and to think it didn’t distort or at least in some way unconsciously influence his testimony? That’s hard to believe.
So the White House "outed" Petraeus even though there was no crime. The FBI had kept their investigation under wraps while it was going on, and presumably they could have continued to do so after it was over.
How does the White House avoid damage from this? The story Petraeus gave congress back in September was not true. What's the story now? Does the White House have anything else to hold over Petraeus's head?
The affair was over, and the investigation was over. David Petraeus thought he was going to keep his job, his family, and his reputation. The job is gone, his reputation has been badly damaged, and it remains to be seen if he can keep his family together. I can see where payback might be an attractive option at this point.