Politics

Petraeus asked about extramarital affair during Capitol Hill briefing

Alex Pappas and Alexis Levinson
Contributor

WASHINGTON – Gen. David Petraeus assured lawmakers Friday that the extramarital affair that forced him out of office a week ago would not affect his ability to provide accurate details about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Appearing on Capitol Hill for the first time since he resigned as CIA director, Petraeus was “asked at the start” if his affair with biographer Paula Broadwell would have “any impact on his testimony,” according to Rep. Peter King.

“He said no,” said King, the New York Republican who sits on the House Intelligence committee.

“The General did not address any specifics of that affair,” said Rep. Jim Langevin.

“What he did say in his opening statement was that he regrets the circumstances that led to his resignation,” Langevin added.

After Petraeus’ initial remarks about the affair, lawmakers were barred from asking any more details. “Any question on that subject was off limits, according to the chairman of the committee,” Florida Rep. Bill Young told reporters after the hearing.

“It was made clear at the start that would not be the focus of the questioning and I would say 10 seconds into it that was off to the side,” King said.

“Again, it was very cordial if you will,” King said. “General Petraeus is an outstanding patriot. We shook hands before and afterwards. We all thanked him for his service.”

The Republican congressman said Petraeus didn’t seemed worn down by the scandal that has dominated the news cycle this week. “He was very professional,” King said. “Very knowledgeable. Very strong.”

Dozens of reporters camped outside the Capitol Hill hearing room where Petraeus testified early Friday morning. The former CIA director never showed himself, apparently entering and exiting through back rooms.

Petraeus faced more questions about the attack on the consulate in Benghazi that left the American ambassador and three others dead.

“We learned the CIA’s observations, their involvement, and what their time line was — not necessarily agreeing with some of the other things we’ve heard from other agencies,” Young said. “I still think there are a lot of questions that have not been answered about this entire effort, this entire disaster that happened in Benghazi.”