Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano told The Daily Caller that, during its investigation of former CIA Director David Petraeus and his biographer, the FBI appears to have wrongfully treated a simple domestic dispute like a national security or criminal matter.
“David Petraeus didn’t betray his country,” Napolitano said in a phone interview. “He betrayed his wife. Big deal.”
Napolitano said the federal investigation was “the use of law enforcement either for a personal vendetta that [Tampa military liaison Jill] Kelley pushed through her FBI agent connection, or a political vendetta – somebody wanting to silence, by embarrassing, humiliating and destroying the credibility of Petraeus.”
“Not only does it not appear there was a crime committed,” Napolitano continued, “[and] not only does it not appear that there was a national security implication, but this is hardly the type of thing that the FBI investigates. This was instigated, apparently, by the Kelley woman, and her friend in the FBI. That is an inappropriate means to commence an investigation by the FBI.”
Napolitano, who is a former New Jersey Superior Court judge, said federal agents, like members of the judiciary, are typically prohibited from working on cases that present a conflict of interest. (RELATED: CIA denies claim it held hostages at Libya annex)
“In fact, the FBI has an internal rule that if an FBI agent knows the complainant, the victim or the target, that FBI agent cannot have anything to do with the case, because that often clouds an individual’s judgment,” Napolitano continued. “It’s like a judge trying a case in which he knows one of the parties. It’s prohibited, and the judge has to reveal that, and get off the case. The principle is the same for the FBI. For that reason, I don’t believe the government’s version of these events.”
According to numerous reports, the FBI began its investigation after Kelley told an agent, whom she knew as a friend, that she had received harassing emails from an anonymous source. The emails, which the agency eventually traced back to Petraeus biographer Paula Broadwell, appeared to be an attempt to intimidate Kelley into staying away from Petraeus.
“It’s inconceivable that the FBI decided to do an investigation based on one email between two private people, whether it mentions Petraeus’ name or not,” Napolitano added. “I don’t know what criminal charges could be filed. It’s not a crime for Mrs. Broadwell to send an email to Mrs. Kelley saying, ‘Stay away from my guy.’”