The head of the House Homeland Security Committee said Attorney General Eric Holder may have committed a “real dereliction of duty” if he didn’t immediately report the investigation into former CIA Director David Petraeus to President Obama.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said on CNN last night politics “could have been” in play if that was the case.
“The fact that this became an FBI investigation to begin with, then to me, once Director Petraeus came within the scope of the investigation, it’s almost unprecedented for the FBI to be investigating the director of the CIA,” King said, making a case that the facts heretofore don’t add up. “If they were going to do that, they should have immediately gone to the attorney general and also to the president of the United States because David Petraeus was a key part of the president’s foreign policy team.”
“I’m not talking about guilt or innocence. I’m saying he’s under a cloud. And I have great admiration for David Petraeus. I urged him to run for president. I’ve worked with him. He’s a tremendous patriot. But once he came under this scope of the investigation, they had to have — they should have notified the president because David Petraeus was involved in some of the most sensitive negotiations around the world,” King added.
He stressed that once the investigation, which reportedly began a few months before Obama was told, became apparent to Holder in September, the attorney general should have immediately told the commander in chief.
“It’s the president that runs foreign policy, not the attorney general,” the congressman said, adding that Holder has “failed terribly” at his job if he sat on the news.
“If the president did find out about it and didn’t act on it until after the election, that’s equally wrong. But if Holder knew about it, if the attorney general knew about it in September, I believe he had the absolute obligation to tell the president in fairness to the president what was happening,” King said.
He said his panel doesn’t have enough information yet to know if national security was compromised.
“And then when we had Benghazi, I think if we on the intelligence committee had known about this investigation going on, we may have looked at David Petraeus, the evidence he gave us, somewhat differently because most of what he told us then has pretty much been disproven since, and again, I think we may have looked at that differently,” King said.
“If he knew that he was being investigated, for instance, if David Petraeus was aware of that, he may have again tried to either tailor the testimony or modify it or do something which is not going to draw attention to himself,” he continued. “I mean human nature, if you know there’s a massive investigation going on, which could bring down your career, you may be less inclined to go all out.”