By Larry Shaughnessy
"You've got to be kidding me."
That's how Secretary of Defense and former CIA Director Leon Panetta first responded when asked about David Petraeus's sudden and unceremonial departure from the CIA.
The question was asked during an event Tuesday at the National Press Club.
"As the former head of the CIA, please explain why Gen. Petraeus was forced to resign, rather than a lesser punishment," an unidentified audience member asked.
By Pam Benson
The intelligence community - not the White House, State Department or Justice Department - was responsible for the substantive changes made to the talking points distributed for government officials who spoke publicly about the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, the spokesman for the director of national intelligence said Monday.
The unclassified talking points on Libya, developed several days after the the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, were not substantively changed by any agency outside of the intelligence community, according to the spokesman, Shawn Turner.
Republican criticism of the talking points intensified last Friday following a closed door hearing with former CIA Director David Petraeus.
Rep. Peter King, R-New York, told reporters after the hearing that the original talking parts drafted by the CIA had been changed and it was unclear who was responsible.
"The original talking points were much more specific about al Qaeda involvement and yet final ones just said indications of extremists," King said.
By Gregory Wallace
Republican legislators on Sunday questioned the motives behind the Obama administration’s initial description of the September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, after Friday briefings on Capitol Hill from the former CIA director.
Asked whether the Obama administration’s initial description of the attacks as “spontaneous” was an attempt to avoid a discussion about terrorist groups being involved, Sen. Roy Blunt said, “Until you hear a better explanation, that's the only conclusion you could reach.”
“You have to have a really good reason why you don't give the American people the information you had, unless you think you're somehow going to really endanger the people that are in other parts of the world,” the Missouri Republican said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”FULL STORY
An affair that caused the resignation of CIA director General Petraeus is just the latest in a list of scandals to engulf the military's highest ranking officials. CNN's Chris Lawrence reports on how some at the top have strayed from the military's code of ethics.
The spiraling scandal that took down David Petraeus has apparently claimed another powerful general, as authorities announced that Gen. John Allen is under investigation for allegedly sending inappropriate messages to Jill Kelley, a woman who has been linked to the Petraeus scandal.
Allen, who is the commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, has disputed that he has committed any wrongdoing, a senior defense official said.
Details of the latest angle of the scandal that has shaken the highest level of the military were sketchy early Tuesday morning.
Some details about Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, came from a terse overnight statement by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
"On Sunday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation referred to the Department of Defense a matter involving General John Allen, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (or ISAF) in Afghanistan," part of the statement said. "Today, the secretary directed that the matter be referred to the Inspector General of the Department of Defense for investigation."
A defense official told CNN that there is a"distinct possibility" that the investigation into Allen is connected to the investigation that led to the resignation of Petraeus.
Allen will still retain his position as the commander of ISAF as the investigation continues, the Pentagon said.
But Panetta asked that Allen's nomination to become NATO's supreme allied commander be put on hold, the statement said.
The confirmation hearing to see if Allen would get that lofty military post was scheduled for Thursday.
The investigation was in its early stages but authorities were looking into some 20,000 to 30,000 pages of documents, the defense official said.
By Pam Benson
So who might be the replacement for David Petraeus? The rumor mill was in full swing Friday after the CIA director stepped down, saying he had an extramarital affair.
One person being discussed is Michael Morell, the now acting CIA director, who could be named to the position permanently.
President Barack Obama thinks highly of Morell, several U.S. officials told CNN's Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin.
In his statement on the resignation of Petraeus, Obama expressed the "utmost confidence" in Morell continuing the work of the CIA.
Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein also expressed support of Morell, saying "the agency is in very good hands until the president selects a replacement."
By CNN's Gloria Borger
Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN CIA Director David Petraeus' resignation is "tragic for this human being" and for the country. "He loved the job, had a big design for the job," she said.
Feinstein also made the point that "people are going to say he's a scapegoat for Benghazi and that's absolutely false," referring to the controversy over the timeline of the terror attack at the U.S. mission in Libya that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. "I know what the personal story is. It is not a cover up."
While she refused to elaborate on the details surrounding Petraeus' sudden departure, she told CNN "I deeply believe, based on what I know, that it was an egregious personal mistake."
By Terry Frieden
The Justice Department on Thursday closed its criminal investigation of the deaths of two prisoners in CIA custody, ending a controversial investigation that Attorney General Eric Holder had approved more than a year ago.
The investigation, conducted by veteran Justice prosecutor John Durham, examined alleged CIA interrogation abuses in connection with prisoner deaths at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003 and at a secret prison in Afghanistan in 2002.
If the probe had led to criminal charges against CIA officers or contractors, it could have ignited a firestorm of objections by Republican lawmakers and the national security community.
Holder acknowledged that he made a controversial decision to appointed Durham in 2009 to examine allegations of CIA interrogation abuses in about 100 cases. His aides say he was aware the Obama White House wanted the torture controversies put behind it, but Holder pressed on. Republican lawmakers and the CIA were upset about the new review of alleged detainee mistreatment. FULL POST
By Mike Mount
Osama bin Laden ordered suicide squads to be created in Pakistan and Afghanistan for the sole reason of tracking down President Obama and Gen. David Petraeus, who was then the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, according to a letter written by bin Laden in May of 2010.
The letter, released by West Point's Combating Terrorism Center, published some of the documents captured in the bin Laden raid last May. A review of the letters released publicly Thursday offer insight into the top leader's thinking and planning as he remained hidden from global view but still tried to have a hand in directing his organization, al Qaeda.
The al Qaeda leader asked his lieutenants to identify people in both countries who could keep an eye out for Obama and Petraeus and conduct suicide operations against them as they traveled in either country. FULL POST
By Pam Benson
The Obama administration is talking with the Pakistanis about possible changes in the way the U.S. conducts air strikes against terrorists in Pakistan, including providing Pakistan advance notice of attacks, modifying the targets and changing how targets are determined, according to a senior U.S. official who is involved in intelligence matters.
The official, who would not speak for attribution because of the sensitivity of the issues, said the White House is making a serious mistake by putting the options on the table for the Pakistanis to seize.