One of the reasons for the FBI protocols and the DOJ guidance is preventing interference with criminal investigations of third parties who may have political connections with the White House or Congress. That rationale does not apply to the investigation of a high-level government official who is a direct subordinate of the president. Both the president and the National Security Council should have been immediately informed about this investigation when the security issues arose.
In fact, a long-time acquaintance who worked in the Office of the Attorney General in a prior administration told me it was inconceivable that an attorney general would not inform the White House counsel or the president that the president’s CIA director was being investigated.
It certainly was convenient for the president’s reelection campaign that information about this probe, on top of the Benghazi fiasco, did not come out as an October surprise just before the election given that members of his administration have known about it for months. But those who worry about our national security and the many threats we face around the world, including an ongoing war with terrorists who want to destroy us, should be very concerned about an attorney general and an FBI director who did not immediately inform the president that his chief intelligence officer was under investigation. Or about a president who shows no concern about the failure of his two chief law enforcement subordinates to inform him of this problem.