Robbing headlines from the selection of a president for the next four years would seem a tall order, but CIA Director David Petraeus has managed to do just that. Even as some of the votes from last week's national elections were still being counted, the talk of the nation's capital turned from President Obama's sweeping electoral triumph over Mitt Romney to another sex scandal at high levels of government.
This time, it is the nation's spymaster upended by a sex scandal.
Details -- and questions -- were still emerging Sunday following the disclosure that Petraeus, 60, one of the nation's most celebrated military generals, told the president he would resign after acknowledging an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, 40, a West Point graduate who spent time with him in Afghanistan starting in 2010.
Congressional leaders, including those overseeing intelligence, professed shock at the developments and dismay that the administration did not alert them sooner that Petraeus was linked to an FBI inquiry.
"We received no advance notice," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Fox News Sunday. "It was like a lightning bolt."
At the heart of their concern: whether national security was compromised by the relationship. But there were other big questions as well, led by the mystery surrounding a second woman to emerge in the investigation.
Jill Kelley, 37, of Tampa has been identified as the woman who prompted the broader investigation into harassing e-mails that led to Broadwell, and ultimately, to Petraeus, a federal law enforcement official said. The official, who has been briefed on the matter, was not authorized to comment publicly.
Kelley serves as a social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where the military's Central Command and Special Operations Command are located. Jill Kelley and her husband, Scott, hired Washington, D.C.-based crisis manager Judy Smith and attorney Abbe Lowell.
Smith issued a statement on behalf of the family late Sunday: "We and our family have been friends with General Petraeus and his family for over 5 years. We respect his and his family's privacy and want the same for us and our three children."
The Petraeus drama unfolded as the CIA was being put on the griddle in Senate and House hearings this week as it investigates the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where the U.S. ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three of the spy agency's employees were killed Sept. 11 this year.
His resignation adds to the embarrassment of the CIA, already reeling from the Libya violence, and fueled more questions from Congress about the agency.
Lawmakers said it's possible that Petraeus will still be asked to appear on Capitol Hill to testify about what he knew about the U.S. response to that incident.
The White House on Sunday declined to comment on the timing of the Petraeus disclosure, but Feinstein said that his resignation had nothing to do with the Benghazi controversy.
"Absolutely not," Feinstein said.
Meanwhile, Kelley first reported receiving harassing e-mails in the late spring to early summer, the law enforcement official said. The allegation triggered a broader inquiry when the FBI examined a trove of electronic communications, which allegedly pointed to Broadwell and the relationship with the CIA director.
Most Popular Stories
- Boehner Lashes Out Against Ted Cruz, Far Right
- Hawaii Official Who Release Obama Certificate Only Victim of Plane Crash
- TFA Recruiting DACA Recipients
- Holiday Shopping Off to a Slow Start This Season
- Ford Plans New Cars, Jobs in 2014
- Gold, Silver Slide on Prospects of Fed Exit
- 'Rape Insurance' Bill Passes in Michigan
- Ted Cruz Coloring Book Selling Briskly
- Kim Jong Un's Uncle Executed
- Grizzly Bears Could Be Taken Off Endangered List