Lawmakers Turn Attention to FBI Agent in Petraeus Probe

Posted November 13, 2012 at 11:13am

A senior member of the House Judiciary Committee suggested Tuesday that Congress will need to look into the conduct of the FBI agent who helped launch the investigation that prompted David H. Petraeus to resign as CIA director.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said Tuesday that new allegations that an FBI agent may have acted inappropriately toward the Florida woman who received emailed threats from Petraeus’ biographer and mistress “certainly” is something the House Judiciary panel needs to look into.

“Here you’re not talking about an intelligence failure,” he said. “You’re talking about allegations of misconduct by an FBI agent who was a part of the investigation.”

According to news reports, Jill Kelley, a volunteer social planner at a military base in Tampa, Fla., complained to an FBI agent about threatening emails. The FBI agent, who helped launch the investigation, allegedly sent shirtless photos of himself to Kelley, among other inappropriate actions.

The FBI probe discovered that Paula Broadwell, Petraeus’ biographer, allegedly sent the threatening emails and also uncovered an affair between Broadwell and Petraeus. In addition, the FBI also found voluminous, possibly inappropriate, correspondence between Kelley and Marine Gen. John R. Allen Jr., the commander of allied forces in Afghanistan.

“I would hope that the president would exercise some leadership and let everything out on this so that this isn’t something that is like an As The World Turns-type soap opera,” Sensenbrenner said. “We have lots more issues to be concerned about, and to resolve, than to deal with this.”

The FBI agent in question was removed from the investigation by his superiors. He later contacted Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., to air his concerns that the FBI was not taking the inquiry seriously enough. Reichert passed him on to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., several days before Petraeus resigned.

Several lawmakers have complained that Congress was not briefed in advance about the investigation or Petraeus’ involvement. Sensenbrenner said that the Intelligence Committees should have been notified, and that he expects FBI director Robert Mueller to brief the Judiciary Committees.

The exact responsibility of the FBI to brief lawmakers on such an inquiry is unclear. Under long-standing Justice Department policy, lawmakers are not briefed on active criminal investigations. But Congress has required briefings on sensitive intelligence matters.