November 12th, 2012
02:26 PM ET

Assessing security implications of Petraeus' infidelity

With reporting from Suzanne Kelly and Pam Benson

While affairs may be commonplace in Washington, when they involve the director of the CIA, things can take on a different tone.

A U.S. official has said there was no breach of national security as a result of David Petraeus' affair, but that hasn't stopped discussion that Paula Broadwell could have gained access to classified information as a result of what she has routinely described as "unprecedented access" to Petraeus.

That discussion seemed to gain momentum Monday thanks to comments Broadwell made in a speech last month at the University of Denver.

"I don't know if a lot of you have heard this, but the CIA annex had actually taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to get these prisoners back," Broadwell said.

A senior intelligence official told CNN on Monday, "These detention claims are categorically not true. Nobody was ever held at the annex before, during, or after the attacks."

Broadwell's source for that previously unpublished bit of information remains unclear, and there's no evidence so far that it came from Petraeus. Administration officials have said the Benghazi assault was a terrorist attack.

The New York Times also reported Sunday that investigators found classified documents on Broadwell's laptop computer. The newspaper cited investigators as saying Petraeus denied he had given them to her.

Retired Gen. James "Spider" Marks, for whom Broadwell once worked and who knows Petraeus, said he doubts security protocols were breached despite what seems an unlikely indiscretion on the part of Petraeus.

"There's almost zero percent chance that national security was compromised or at risk," he said Monday.

A senior U.S. intelligence official said an extramarital affair by a CIA officer is not automatically considered a security violation.

"It depends on the circumstances," the official said.

The official also said Broadwell did not have a security clearance from the CIA.

Another official said Broadwell, who is a reserve Army officer, did have some kind of security clearance and that there are no issues with Broadwell having unauthorized access to classified information.

Petraeus' resignation also presents challenges to the congressional inquiry into the Benghazi attack.

CNN has confirmed that Petraeus recently traveled to Libya to meet the CIA station chief to discuss the attack. He was scheduled to testify before a congressional committee this week on the assault and the U.S. government response to it.

That will now not happen, but it is possible that he could be summoned by Congress to testify later.

Some Republicans have criticized the administration's response to the Benghazi attack and have speculated that Petraeus' departure was linked to the congressional inquiry.

Rep. Peter King, R-New York, said elements of the story "don't add up." He called Petraeus "an absolutely essential witness, maybe more than anybody else."

However, a senior U.S. official said Petraeus' departure wasn't connected to the Benghazi hearing.

"Director Petraeus' frank and forthright letter of resignation stands on its own," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic. "Any suggestion that his departure has anything to do with criticism about Benghazi is completely baseless."

Post by:
Filed under: CIA • Intelligence • Libya • Middle East • Petraeus
soundoff (633 Responses)
  1. Tania Guard

    How come Firefox displays a weird character when it should show a word?

    September 30, 2021 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  2. RV Repair Near Me Now

    When I originally commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I receive 4 emails with the exact same comment. Is there a way you are able to remove me from that service? Appreciate it!

    June 30, 2021 at 9:58 am | Reply
  3. Mercedes Sprinter Van Service Near Me

    June 30, 2021 at 8:08 am | Reply
  4. RV Repair Shop Near Me

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who was doing a little research on this. And he actually bought me dinner simply because I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this matter here on your internet site.<a+href=

    June 30, 2021 at 5:55 am | Reply
  5. RV Repair Places Near Me

    Howdy! This article couldnít be written any better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I am going to send this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a great read. Many thanks for sharing!

    June 30, 2021 at 5:11 am | Reply
  6. RV Repair Near My Location

    May I simply say what a relief to uncover somebody that actually understands what they're discussing online. You definitely realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people have to look at this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you're not more popular because you surely possess the gift.

    June 30, 2021 at 5:02 am | Reply
  7. RV Repair Nearby

    June 30, 2021 at 4:08 am | Reply
  8. Wheelchair Van Repair Near Me

    June 30, 2021 at 3:39 am | Reply
  9. Sprinter Repair Mechanics

    June 30, 2021 at 2:30 am | Reply
  10. RV Repairs Nearby

    June 29, 2021 at 11:28 pm | Reply
  11. Toyota Cargo Van Repair

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It is the little changes that make the most significant changes. Many thanks for sharing!

    June 29, 2021 at 11:05 pm | Reply
  12. Van Technician Shop Near Me

    Excellent blog you've got here.. Itís difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I truly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    June 29, 2021 at 9:28 pm | Reply
  13. RV Repair Places Near Me

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It's the little changes that produce the greatest changes. Thanks for sharing!

    June 29, 2021 at 8:32 pm | Reply
  14. RV Repair Shops Nearby

    June 29, 2021 at 8:20 pm | Reply
  15. Camper Repair Shops Near Me

    Very good post. I'm going through many of these issues as well..

    June 29, 2021 at 8:20 pm | Reply
  16. RV Repair Orange County

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and the rest of the site is really good.

    June 29, 2021 at 6:18 pm | Reply
  17. RV Repair

    Hi there! This post could not be written any better! Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I am going to forward this article to him. Pretty sure he's going to have a very good read. Many thanks for sharing!

    June 29, 2021 at 6:01 pm | Reply
  18. Camper Repairs Near Me

    June 29, 2021 at 4:04 pm | Reply
  19. RV Repairs Near My Location

    June 29, 2021 at 2:05 pm | Reply
  20. Sprinter Repair Costa Mesa$og_redirect=

    June 29, 2021 at 1:20 pm | Reply
  21. Sprinter Van Upholstery

    You're so cool! I don't suppose I've read through anything like that before. So great to discover somebody with a few original thoughts on this subject. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This site is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

    June 29, 2021 at 1:14 pm | Reply
  22. RV Repair Shop Near Me

    I really like looking through an article that will make men and women think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!

    June 29, 2021 at 12:37 pm | Reply
  23. Camper Repair Near Me

    Aw, this was a really good post. Finding the time and actual effort to generate a superb articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I procrastinate a lot and don't manage to get nearly anything done.

    June 29, 2021 at 8:40 am | Reply
  24. Dodge Sprinter Service

    That is a really good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate infoÖ Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

    June 29, 2021 at 7:13 am | Reply
  25. RV Repair Near My Location

    After I originally commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the same comment. Is there an easy method you can remove me from that service? Appreciate it!

    June 29, 2021 at 4:10 am | Reply
  26. RV Repair Near Me Now

    June 29, 2021 at 4:01 am | Reply
  27. RV Repair Orange County

    June 29, 2021 at 3:47 am | Reply
  28. Dodge Sprinter Repair Shops

    June 29, 2021 at 2:51 am | Reply
  29. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me

    I could not refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!

    June 29, 2021 at 2:21 am | Reply
  30. 2010 Sprinter Seat Belt Buckle Repair

    June 29, 2021 at 1:44 am | Reply
  31. RV Repair Garden Grove

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up plus the rest of the website is also very good.

    June 28, 2021 at 10:43 pm | Reply
  32. Wheelchair Van Repair

    I was able to find good information from your articles.

    June 28, 2021 at 10:25 pm | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.