On Monday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” host Joe Scarborough and House Homeland Security Committee chairman Peter King expressed anger that President Barack Obama was apparently unaware CIA director David Petraeus’ extramarital affair until late last week.
The New York Times has reported that the FBI and Justice Department may have been aware of Petraeus’ affair as early as last summer. And if that timeline is accurate, Scarborough and King said, then the president should have been alerted earlier.
“Joe, I’m not into conspiracy theories, but I certainly have questions,” King replied. “For instance, my first concern is with the FBI. Why they went ahead with the investigation and why they didn’t tell somebody above? If they did tell somebody above, it would have been Eric Holder. And in that case, Eric Holder should have gone to the president. Or [FBI Director Robert] Mueller deals with the president on a regular basis.”
“So, he could have been alone with the president and said, ‘Listen, I hate to bring this up. I love David Petraeus, but here’s the reality what’s happening right now,’” King continued. “The president was owed that information. So, either the director didn’t give it to the attorney general or didn’t give it to the president or he did give it to the attorney general and the attorney general did not provide that information to the president.”
Scarborough expressed his doubt that Obama didn’t know, but if Obama had not known because someone did not inform him, that was grounds for termination.
“Wait, listen. I mean, Peter, it is mind-blowing to think that the director of the FBI knew about this from the summer, has almost daily contacts with the president of the United States, knows that the man who is entrusted to, in effect, run the war on terror may be compromised and he doesn’t say anything to the president of the United States for months?” Scarborough said. “Somebody needs to be fired here. This is ridiculous.”
King explained this scandal involves much higher stakes than other cabinet posts, since national security is involved.
“This is a crisis, I believe, of major proportions,” King said. “This is not the usual political thing. We’re not talking about a Secretary of Commerce or some undersecretary somewhere…they don’t deal with national security.”
“The president, when you strip everything else aside, the president’s main obligation is to be commander in chief,” King added. “To be commander in chief, he has to be able to trust his top foreign policy people, his top intelligence people. They are part of the team that keeps America safe.”