November 14, 2012

Should Lawmakers and White House Have Been Warned of Petraeus Investigation?


When the Petraeus news hit, congressional leaders bemoaned not being notified beforehand. Gwen Ifill talks to Jane Harman, former ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and former Justice Department official Matthew Miller about when and if Congress and the president should be briefed on such investigations.

Watch Should Lawmakers Have Been Warned of Petraeus Investigation? on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.


JEFFREY BROWN: And for more, we turn once again tonight to Sari Horwitz, an investigative reporter at The Washington Post.

So, potentially inappropriate communications between General Allen and Jill Kelley, what does that mean? What do we know so far?

SARI HORWITZ, The Washington Post: Well, it’s interesting, because one man’s potentially inappropriate e-mail is another’s friendly banter, maybe flirtatious banter.

But people in the Allen camp in Washington and people who represent Kelley — she’s hired a lawyer and a P.R. representative — both people say that there was no inappropriate relationship. There was no affair. It was a platonic friendship.

It’s so interesting because this scandal that is rocking Washington and has led to the downfall of Petraeus and is raising questions about John Allen all started with this Tampa party social scene in which Jill Kelley was the key player.

JEFFREY BROWN: What do we know about Jill Kelley at this point?

SARI HORWITZ: Well, here’s what we know.

She was an ad hoc kind of social ambassador with the military and their wives, the generals based in Tampa. She was a volunteer at the MacDill Air Force base, which is located next to her mansion. She and her husband, Scott, who is a surgeon in Tampa, threw these lavish parties with the military, cigars and champagne and string quartets.

And they were friends. They socialized. And she obviously liked to send e-mails. She sent many, many e-mails to General Allen. We have heard 20,000 to 30,000 pages of documents. Those aren’t all e-mails, but many of them are e-mails.

JEFFREY BROWN: Clarity that a little bit, because there’s been a lot of to and fro on it; 20,000 to 30,000 sounds like an awful lot.

SARI HORWITZ: I think it’s more accurate to say 20,000 to 30,000 pages of information, probably hundreds of e-mails between them.

And, you know, some of them are friendly. We know that he used the word “sweetheart” in one or two or three of them, maybe more.

But what his friends say is that he was sort of a gentleman, a Southern gentleman. That’s a term he would use, and that it’s really just a friendship and a platonic relationship.

JEFFREY BROWN: I’m sorry. Continue.

SARI HORWITZ: Well, the FBI turned over this information to the Department of Defense because there are no criminal charges. There is no national security at issue is what they tell me.

But they thought that the Department of Defense should have this material because it does have to do with a key commander.

JEFFREY BROWN: Well, that’s exactly what I was going to ask you about, turning it — that decision to turn it over.

Let me ask you about the other, as we said at the end of that piece, the strange aspect of the FBI agent who first was contacted by Jill Kelley and their relationship, such as it is or might be. What do we know? And does that have any particular bearing on all this? Or is that just a — as we said, a strange detail?

SARI HORWITZ: Strange detail. He’s an interesting character in this whole story because it may not have become public if not for that agent.

He was also part of the Tampa social scene. He was friends with Jill Kelley. And, as friends, they were talking in June. And she said, you know, I’m getting all these really bizarre, harassing e-mails. What should I do? And he said, I will take it to the bureau.

And he takes to it the Tampa office of the FBI to the cyber-crime division, which they have there. But he wasn’t one of the investigators on the case. He brought it to them, but then the case moved forward. He later learned from the agents that it involved Broadwell, because they uncovered the tie to Broadwell, and it involved Petraeus.

And he was upset at the slow pace that he believed the investigation was taking. He was frustrated. He called a friend of his, who called a lawmaker in Washington state, who called Eric Cantor on Capitol Hill. And this agent said, this could be a matter of national security. What are we doing about this? It involves General Petraeus.

And Eric Cantor’s chief of staff then called the chief of staff of the FBI director, Robert Mueller.

JEFFREY BROWN: Now, speaking of Broadwell, you’re going back to where things stand on the Petraeus investigation. What do we know about why FBI people were at her house? What were they looking for last night? What was that all about?

SARI HORWITZ: That was another fascinating development last night that happened late. And that is part of the ongoing investigation.