Washington (CNN) — An angry Dianne Feinstein, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman, warned again Monday she would investigate why the FBI did not notify oversight committees about its investigation into CIA Director David Petraeus after the bureau determined he was having a secret and risky extramarital affair.
“… A decision was made somewhere not to brief us, which is atypical,” the California Democrat told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell about how the top Democrats and Republicans on the House and Senate intelligence committees are usually briefed on key developments. “This is certainly an operationally sensitive matter. But we weren’t briefed. I don’t know who made that decision.”
Section 501 of the National Security Act of 1947 spells out the requirements for the executive branch to inform the congressional intelligence committees of key intelligence-related activities.
“The president shall ensure that the congressional intelligence committees are kept fully and currently informed on the intelligence activities of the United States, including any significant anticipated intelligence activity as required by this title,” the statute reads.
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CIA Director David Petraeus stepped down Friday, November 9, 2012, citing an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Many questions surround the affair, including why it was necessary for Petraeus to resign and the future of his marriage to his wife, Holly. Here’s a look at other U.S. sexual scandals that led to political stumbles and downfalls.
Former president Bill Clinton’s denial of his affair with then-intern Monica Lewinsky jeopardized his seat in the Oval Office. News of the affair surfaced in 1998, and Clinton became the second president to be impeached by the U.S. House when he was brought up on charges of lying to a grand jury and trying to influence the testimony of others but wasn’t removed from office. He is still married to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-New York, caused a stir in Washington in 2011 when he was caught using social media to communicate with at least six women other than his wife, Huma Abedin. Weiner left office in his seventh term in Congress. Shortly after his resignation, news broke the Abedin was pregnant with their first child. Today, the couple is still married, and Weiner is a stay-at-home dad to their 6-month-old son. Weiner rejoined Twitter earlier this month.
Eliot Spitzer earned a squeaky clean image as the attorney general of New York who took on Wall Street corruption from 1999 to 2006. From there, he moved to the governor’s mansion in Albany in 2007. But the Democrat was stopped in his political tracks when his liaisons with high-paid prostitute Ashley Dupre surfaced, and he stepped down as governor in March 2008. He briefly went on to anchor and now hosts “Viewpoint'” on Current TV. He is still married to Silda Wall Spitzer.
John Edwards, the former NC senator and Democratic presidential hopeful, saw his political career spin off track when he finally admitted in 2008 that he was unfaithful to his cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth Edwards. Edwards at first denied the affair but ultimately came clean about fathering a child with his campaign videographer, Rielle Hunter. Prosecutors accused Edwards of illegally using hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to keep his pregnant mistress under wraps, but he was granted a mistrial on May 31, 2012. Elizabeth Edwards died in 2010.
When then-South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford went MIA for nearly a week in June of 2009, his staff told the public he was out hiking the Appalachian Trail. But when the Republican was spotted at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, he decided to come clean about the mysterious hiking trip and quite a bit more. Sanford admitted he was not hiking, but visiting his Argentinian mistress in Buenos Aires. Though his wife, Jenny, said she was open to reconciliation, Sanford was head-over-heels for paramour Maria Belen Chapur. The Sanfords divorced. He became engaged to Belen Chapur in August.
Former actor and California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made headlines in 2011 when his longtime wife, journalist Maria Shriver of the Kennedy clan, filed for divorce after learning Schwarzenegger had fathered a son with the couple’s housekeeper. Schwarzenegger recently began talking publicly about the affair, released an autobiography and made a return to acting. He has said he hopes to win Shriver back.
Photos: Public figures, private missteps
Feinstein described the unfolding scandal, which she first learned about on Friday when Petraeus announced publicly his resignation, “like peeling an onion. Every day another peel comes off, and you see a whole new dimension to this.”
“My concern has actually escalated the last few days,” she said.
On Sunday, she told Fox News an investigation of the FBI was needed because the illicit affair “could have had an effect on national security.”
One specific national security concern deals with whether Paula Broadwell, the woman with whom Petraeus had an affair, was privy to classified information. In a speech at the end of October, Broadwell suggested the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, took place because the U.S. was housing Libyan prisoners there — a theory, she noted at the time, that had not been vetted yet.
“I do not know how she got that information,” Feinstein said. “We should find out.” The claim by Broadwell has since been discounted by administration officials.
Feinstein also was incensed that an FBI whistle-blower — who may have feared the investigation into Petraeus wasn’t proceeding properly — had complained to the office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, who then was aware of the investigation even before President Barack Obama was informed.
Feinstein’s committee will meet privately Tuesday to determine how it will proceed on the FBI matter.
It is important “that we have an orderly process, that we not jeopardize anyone’s rights, that we be respectful,” she said, adding that some of the investigation will be done in public and some of it will be behind closed doors.
Separately, the committee is conducting an investigation into the fatal attack on the consulate in Benghazi. Petraeus was to testify before a closed hearing Thursday into the attack, but he will now be replaced by Acting CIA Director Mike Morell.
“Disciplinary action” could be in order, Feinstein said.
Feinstein said she wants to read a “trip” report that she was told Petraeus filed on his just-concluded visit to Benghazi, where he personally investigated the circumstances of the attack. But after a second person told her the report had not been written yet, Feinstein warned she would move to have it subpoenaed if necessary.
She said also that Petraeus will testify before the committee on Benghazi at some point, probably in closed session.