CIA to probe Petraeus' conduct
Published: Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, 8:56 p.m.
Classified material kept by the woman who had an affair with former CIA Director David Petraeus predates their liaison and does not come from the spy agency, sources briefed on the investigation said on Thursday.
The finding appears to bolster assertions by Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell, that their affair did not put national security secrets at risk — a central question hovering over the scandal that brought down one of America's most respected public figures.
The CIA said it had opened an “exploratory” investigation into Petraeus' conduct, building on the FBI's probe. Law enforcement officials have said they believe the FBI investigation is likely to end without criminal charges.
The scandal has cast a spotlight on the private lives of some of the nation's top national security officials.
The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Marine Gen. John Allen, faces a Pentagon inspector general's review of what sources describe as “flirtatious” emails with a Tampa socialite.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered the military's top brass to look for any gaps in ethics amid concerns officers' lapses in judgment could erode public confidence in the military. Traveling in Bangkok, Panetta said he knew of no other military officials who have been drawn into the investigation.
Petraeus and Broadwell have separately told investigators they did not share security secrets, and Petraeus has repeated that assertion to associates and a television reporter.
In his first public comments on the matter, Attorney General Eric Holder said the FBI did not discover any possible threats during the course of the investigation that were urgent enough to notify President Obama or lawmakers until shortly before Petraeus stepped down.
FBI agents have found a substantial amount of classified information on Broadwell's personal computer since they searched her Charlotte home with her consent on Monday.
Sources briefed on the investigation said the documents date from before August 2011, when Petraeus took up his post at the CIA and the two started their affair. None of the material comes from the CIA.
As an Army reserve officer involved in military intelligence, Broadwell had a security clearance that allowed her to handle sensitive documents. However, she would still have to comply with strict rules that lay out how sensitive materials must be protected.
Broadwell's security clearance has been suspended. She could have it revoked and face harsher penalties if it is found she mishandled classified data.
Petraeus' remarks notwithstanding, investigators said they had not ruled out the possibility that he passed on classified material to Broadwell. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing law enforcement investigation.
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