Paula Broadwell is seen at her brother's home in
Washington. REUTERS/Ron Sachs/CNP
In his first public remarks since resigning as CIA
director last Friday over an extramarital affair, retired
General David Petraeus said he did not share any classified
documents with his mistress and biographer, Paula Broadwell.
Petraeus also told a reporter for the HLN television network
that it was the affair, not any questions over the CIA's role
during the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the US diplomatic
mission in Benghazi, Libya, that prompted him to step down.
Reuters reported on Wednesday that investigators found
substantial classified information on a computer used by
Broadwell. According to law enforcement and national security
sources, investigators are examining whether the information
should have been stored under more secure conditions.
Despite Petraeus' comments to the network, investigators on
Thursday said they had not ruled out the possibility that
Petraeus passed on classified material to Broadwell. They
spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing law
Broadwell, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing, has
made no public comment since the scandal erupted last week.
The developments underscored a central question hanging over
a scandal that has led to the downfall of one of the United
States' most respected public figures: whether a private
indiscretion put national security at risk.
President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that there was no
indication so far that any classified information had been
disclosed as a result of the affair.
Sources who have been briefed on the investigation said on
Thursday that none of the classified material found on
Broadwell's computer came from the CIA. The material, they
said, appeared dated and pre-dates the start of Petraeus'
tenure at the spy agency in September 2011.
As an Army reserve officer involved in military intelligence,
Broadwell had a security clearance that allowed her to handle
sensitive documents. With Broadwell's consent, the FBI
searched her Charlotte, North Carolina, house on Monday
Broadwell's security clearance has now been suspended, and
she could have it revoked and face harsher penalties if its
found she mishandled classified data.
Law enforcement officials have said that they believe the
investigation is likely to end without criminal charges.
The scandal this week also ensnared the commander of US and
NATO forces in Afghanistan, Marine General John Allen.
Allen has pledged to resolve questions surrounding what
officials have called his inappropriate email communications
with Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, who is also at the center
of the Petraeus case.
Last spring, Kelley informed the FBI of harassing emails that
were ultimately determined to have come from Broadwell. A
subsequent FBI investigation uncovered Broadwell's affair
Traveling in Bangkok, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he
knew of no other military officials who have been drawn into
the investigation. He acknowledged that further revelations
Petraeus is due to face lawmakers on Friday who are examining
the September attacks in Benghazi that caused the death of
four Americans, including the US ambassador. The attack has
turned into a flash point between Obama and Republicans who
accuse his administration of misleading the public in the
days following the attack.