Petraeus Faints During Hearing

Posted June 15, 2010 at 9:54am

Updated: 11:28 a.m.

Gen. David Petraeus fainted Tuesday morning during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing and was escorted out of the room, but he returned a short time later, apparently feeling fine.

“Just felt a little dehydrated,” he said afterward.

Petraeus fainted during a question-and-answer session with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the panel’s ranking member. Aides and security quickly rushed to Petraeus, who was taken out of the room briefly. Petraeus returned to the room a short time later, drawing applause, but the hearing was suspended and will resume Wednesday morning.

“I ate a couple of bananas, and I feel fine,” Petraeus added as he left the Dirksen Senate Office Building. “Just didn’t eat breakfast this morning.”

Before the incident, Petraeus gave his opening statement and answered one round of questions from Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.). McCain had begun questioning Petraeus, praising him as a hero but raising concerns about the United States’ commitment to military efforts in Afghanistan, when Petraeus fainted. Petraeus later quipped, “it wasn’t Sen. McCain’s questions, I assure you.”

Petraeus, who is head of Central Command, was scheduled to testify with Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of Defense for policy. The two will return Wednesday.

Emily Yehle contributed to this report.