UK & World News

  • 16 November 2012, 9:00

Petraeus Affair 'Posed No Risk To Security'

Classified information held by the woman who had an affair with General David Petraeus did not come from the former head of the CIA, according to reports.

The restricted material kept by Paula Broadwell reportedly predates their liaison and the date when Gen Petraeus took up his post at the CIA and the two started their affair.

Gen Petraeus, who resigned last week over his relationship with Ms Broadwell, is due to appear before the intelligence committees of the House of Representatives and Senate to discuss the deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

However, it is not clear whether he will be questioned about the possible implications of the affair.

The latest reports appear to bolster the pair's assertions that their affair did not put national security secrets at risk - the question at the heart of the scandal that brought down one of America's most respected public figures.

Speaking with HLN reporter Kyra Phillips, Gen Petraeus revealed he stepped down as he was deeply remorseful about the affair.

"He has insisted to me that he has never passed classified information to Paula Broadwell," Ms Phillips said. "As long as I have known him, he has never wavered on classified information, ever."

"He has said this has nothing to do with Benghazi and he wants to testify. He will testify. He has maintained to me all along this was a personal failing," she added.

As an Army reserve officer involved in military intelligence, Mrs Broadwell had a security clearance that allowed her to handle sensitive documents. However, she would still have to comply with strict rules on how sensitive materials must be protected.

Mrs Broadwell's security clearance has now been suspended.

Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said he planned to ask General Petraeus whether his resignation had anything to do with the fact that he was called to give evidence to Congress on the Benghazi attack.

He said he had been told that was not the case, but wanted to clarify the matter, adding the issue of whether the General's affair had affected national security would almost certainly be raised.

But fellow Democrat committee member Adam Schiff said the questioning would be confined to the events in Benghazi on September 11, in which four Americans, including US Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed

The attack has turned into a flash point between President Barack Obama and Republicans who have accused his administration of misleading the public in the days following the attack.

The two intelligence committees were shown real-time film of the attack on Thursday as they heard from intelligence, FBI and State Department officials.

The CIA said on Thursday it had opened an "exploratory" investigation into Gen Petraeus' conduct, building on the FBI's probe.

Law enforcement officials have said they believe the FBI investigation is likely to end without criminal charges.

The scandal has cast a spotlight on the private lives of some of the nation's top national security officials.

His successor in Afghanistan, General John Allen, is under investigation for alleged "inappropriate communications" with Tampa socialite Jill Kelley.