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David Petraeus affair: Congress still wants him to testify, as questions grow

David Petraeus will not appear before Congress this week about the attack in Benghazi, Libya. But as more revelations come out about his affair, lawmakers say they still want to hear from him at some point.

By Staff writer / November 12, 2012

The former Commander of International Security Assistance Force and US Forces-Afghanistan Gen. Davis Petraeus, (l.), shaking hands with Paula Broadwell, co-author of "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus."As details emerge about Petraeus' extramarital affair with his biographer, Broadwell, members of Congress say they want to know whether national security was compromised and why they weren't told sooner.

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Washington

David Petraeus’s abrupt resignation as CIA director Friday over an extramarital affair is unlikely to spare him the glare of congressional testimony, which he had been scheduled for this week.

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Indeed, Mr. Petraeus, a retired four-star general, may still be summoned by Congress to testify at some point on the Central Intelligence Agency’s response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. Not only that, but now, members of Congress are saying they also want to know how Petraeus’s affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, may have compromised aspects of national security and intelligence.

Questions about the possible intelligence and national-security ramifications of Petraeus’s dalliances gained in urgency after it was revealed that Ms. Broadwell, a West Point graduate who is married and has two children, offered up what appears to have been undisclosed information in a speech last month at the University of Denver, where she earned a master’s degree.

In the Oct. 26 speech, Broadwell seemed to offer some salient tidbits about the circumstances of the attack by Islamist extremists on the US Consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and two CIA contractors. She spoke of the response of the CIA annex in Benghazi – whose existence had only been made public Oct. 21 in a CIA background briefing with reporters – and suggested she had information that was not widely known.

“Now, I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had actually ... taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner, and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back,” she said.

The CIA is denying that prisoners were held at their annex, which ostensibly was set up as part of the US effort to locate and seize the thousands of “loose” sophisticated weapons, including shoulder-fired missiles, floating around Libya after the fall of Muammar Qaddafi. But other official sources say on background that the CIA’s Benghazi operation actually dwarfed the consulate, located a mile away, and had occasionally held jihadist suspects from Libya and other parts of North Africa.

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