The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee second-guessed President Obama’s acceptance of former CIA Director David Petraeus’ resignation.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called the surprising news “an enormous loss for our nation’s intelligence community and for our country.”
“On a personal level, I found his command of intelligence issues second to none. He was especially cooperative with Congress as we executed our oversight responsibility, and he was responsible for improving American relationships with intelligence agencies in countries around the world,” she said.
Petraeus was supposed to testify before the committee next week about the Benghazi attack, but was replaced with Acting Director Michael Morell after his resignation.
“I wish President Obama had not accepted this resignation, but I understand and respect the decision,” Feinstein said.
In July, Feinstein angered the White House by saying someone in their ranks was responsible for high-profile leaks of classified information.
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which was also supposed to have Petraeus at the witness table for a closed-door Benghazi hearing next week, issued a brief, guarded statement on the news.
“I appreciate the decades of service David Petraeus has given to our country. His entire career has been spent defending and protecting the United States,” said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.). “I am confident the CIA will continue to successfully carry out its vital mission through this transition.”
“General David Petraeus will stand in the ranks of America’s greatest military heroes,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). “His inspirational leadership and his genius were directly responsible – after years of failure – for the success of the surge in Iraq. General Petraeus has devoted his life to serving the country he loves, and America is so much the better for it. We are immensely grateful for General Petraeus’s decades of work on behalf of our nation, our military, and our security. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”
At today’s White House press briefing, Jay Carney said he wasn’t “aware” of Petraeus meeting with the president.
Asked if Obama has “full faith and confidence in General Petraeus and want him to stay on the job,” Carney responded, “The president thinks General Petraeus has done an excellent job.”
Toward the end of the briefing, the news of his resignation broke and reporters began grilling the press secretary.
“I think I’ll let General Petraeus address this,” Carney said. “…I don’t have any information to give to you on this.”