Then-ISAF Commander Gen. David Petraeus poses with his biographer Paula… (AFP/Getty Images )
The fallout from David Petraeus’ sudden resignation as CIA director continued Sunday, with questions about how much the White House knew, and whether there is any connection between his departure and the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein(D-Calif.), said Petraeus’ announcement was “like a lightning bolt,” and that there was no advance notice of his decision. Appearing on “Fox NewsSunday,” Feinstein also explained her statement earlier in the week that President Obama should not have accepted Petraeus’ resignation.
“When you realize additional complications, which I did not at the time when I spoke to him, I think he did the right thing. I think the president really had no choice but to accept that resignation,” she said.
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Petraeus was scheduled to testify on the attack in Benghazi this week, presenting the findings of his independent investigation into the situation on the ground, but will now be replaced in the hearing by Acting CIA Director Mike Morrell.
Washington Postreporter Bob Woodward shed some light on what Petraeus’ findings may have been.
“I think it would have essentially backed up the White House – the question is whether he’ll be asked to testify as a private citizen,” Woodward said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The suddenness of Petraeus’ resignation, and the heated political environment around the incident in Benghazi, has stoked conspiratorial speculation.
Feinstein said there was “absolutely not” a connection between the resignation and consulate attack, but that hasn’t halted other members of Congress from engaging in speculation.
“I have real questions about this, I think the timeline has to be looked at. I’m suggesting there’s a lot of unanswered questions,” Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
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King, the House Homeland Security Committeechairman, said the current timeline “just doesn’t add up.”
But NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell, who broke the story, said on “Meet the Press” that “the White House did not know about this until Wednesday.”
As for Petraeus’ immediate future, the former CIA director may end up being requested to testify on Benghazi as a civilian, with King deeming him “an absolutely necessary witness,” and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, “would not rule out” calling Petraeus in.
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