Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., had no advance warning of the David Petraeus scandal, she said Sunday.
"We received no advance notice. It was like a lightning bolt," she told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace of CIA Director David Petraeus’ decision to step down on Friday over an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.
Feinstein said that while the FBI is legally required to inform her panel of big shakeups such as Petraeus’ resignation, she was not told ahead of time. According to the Huffington Post, the first Feinstein heard of Petraeus’ resignation was from reporters soon after the news broke on Friday morning.
In contrast, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., was tipped off to the general’s affair by an FBI whistleblower a full week before the news broke. It is unknown why Feinstein was not informed.
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Feinstein also said President Barack Obama was right to accept Petraeus’ resignation. Initially, the senator stated that Obama should not have accepted the resignation, but she told Wallace that she did not have all the information at the time of her earlier statement.
Government security reportedly found out about the matter when they were investigating Broadwell for sending “harassing” messages to other women in Petraeus’ life. Upon learning this information, Feinstein backed Obama’s decision.
"When you realize additional complications, which I did not at the time when I spoke to him, I think he did the right thing," she said. "I think the president really had no choice but to accept that resignation."
While Petraeus resigned over the extramarital affair, conspiracy-mongers predictably have suggested that the CIA boss was actually resigning in some sort of coverup related to the Sept. 11 attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Feinstein steadfastly denied these claims, stating that there was “absolutely not” a connection between the attacks and Petraeus’ resignation. But she added that Petraeus may still be called to testify before Congress about the attack at the request of several senators.
Feinstein also said she was highly disappointed and saddened by the entire incident.
"For me, it's a heartbreak," she said. "This is a truly bright man, a credible person, a great leader, and could have really been a super transitional figure for the CIA. This is very, very hard."