Rep. King: Petraeus ‘going to have to testify one way or the other’
During Saturday’s broadcast of “The Steve Malzberg Show” on ABC Radio’s Washington, D.C. affiliate WMAL, New York Republican Rep. Peter King, the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, was adamant that former CIA Director David Petraeus should testify before Congress despite his sudden resignation.
“As far as I’m concerned, the intelligence committee has to interview Gen. Petraeus. Whether or not he’s head of the CIA is almost irrelevant to him testifying,” King said. “He’s the only one who would have the facts that we are looking for, so he’s going to have to testify one way or the other.”
Petraeus, who resigned Friday after acknowledging an extramarital affair, was scheduled to appear before the House and Senate intelligence committees on Nov. 15 to testify about the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, which resulted in the deaths of the U.S. ambassador and several other Americans.
King expressed skepticism about the circumstances and timing of Petraeus’ resignation.
“The main issue is: Why was the investigation launched in the first place?” King asked. “There’s more here. This story does not add up. There is something missing in the entire story. I don’t see any good explanation coming out of this. There’s no way you can defend what the White House and the administration is saying. It just doesn’t make sense, and that’s the point I’m making.”
The congressman, who is also a member of the House intelligence committee, said it was “really hard to believe” that President Barack Obama was unaware of the investigation into Petraeus’ behavior until this week, as the White House has claimed.
“I mean think of the consequences of monitoring the e-mails of the CIA Director by the FBI – almost a competitive agency, in a way – and not telling the President about it, not telling the Congress about it. And then suddenly, on the night of or day or two after the Election, whichever time-frame we want to use, it becomes so important that it’s disclosed and Petraeus is out the door.”
King further questioned why Congress wasn’t informed about the investigation, as is customary when sensitive investigations are launched.
“There’s a lot of issues here. Was Gen. Petraeus aware of the investigation? Was he aware of it back on Sept. 14, when he gave Congress the version of the Benghazi attack, which has been disproven since then?” King asked.
“Is the fact that Gen. Petraeus basically broke with the White House version of what happened [in Benghazi], did somebody in the White House then drop the story on him? These are all the things that are really very, very pertinent,” he added.
CBS News’ Mark Knoller reported on Twitter that acting CIA Director Michael Morrell will testify in place of Petraeus. A House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence staffer has confirmed to The Daily Caller that Petraeus will not testify.
“We cannot allow him not to testify,” King said. “He has to testify. It’s as simple as that.”