Politics
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the Senate Judiciary Committee's ranking member listens to testimony from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)  

Sen. Grassley enters fray in pushing for answers from Holder, Mueller on FBI’s Petraeus probe

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking member of the powerful Senate judiciary committee, is pushing FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General Eric Holder for answers on the federal probe that uncovered former CIA Director David Petraeus’ extramarital affair.

Petraeus resigned after an FBI-led probe discovered he was cheating on his wife with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.

In a Thursday evening press release announcing a letter he sent to Mueller and Holder demanding answers, Grassley said he’s concerned about the FBI’s use of its federal law-enforcement power to investigate the personal lives of the people involved in this scandal. (RELATED: Judge flags ‘police state’ surveillance tactics in Petraeus case)

“A number of questions have been raised about the FBI’s actions during the course of its investigation of the Petraeus matter,” Grassley said. “It would be best for the administration to be forthright and transparent so the country can feel comfortable that our chief domestic law enforcement agency is doing everything properly under the law to protect national security.”

Grassley is calling for Holder and Mueller to provide him with a detailed briefing of the facts surrounding the FBI’s decision-making process in this case.

Specifically, Grassley is asking for, among other things, “a timeline of events from initial contact with FBI personnel through the current status of the inquiry” and an explanation of how and why the FBI opened the inquiry.

In addition, the Hawkeye state’s oversight bulldog wants “a detailed list of personnel who signed off on the investigation,” and a detailed account of the legal authority used to obtain the electronic communications of the subjects of the investigation.

Grassley also requested an accounting of the role played, if any, by U.S. attorneys.

Earlier this week, Grassley said an FBI official openly refused to provide this information to his staff during a brief phone call.

“On Tuesday, my staff received a very brief preliminary call with an official from the FBI who declined to discuss the matter, citing its ongoing nature,” Grassley wrote to Mueller and Holder. “However, the FBI official suggested my staff issue a formal request to the Department.”

Mueller provided a closed-door briefing to members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees on the Petraeus events on Wednesday. He also gave a closed-door briefing to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy on the topic, but has thus far not given similar information to Grassley, Leahy’s counterpart.