Republicans are already saying the investigation smacks of a pre-election coverup by the White House.
"It seems this (the investigation) has been going on for several months and, yet, now it appears that they're saying that the FBI didn't realize until Election Day that Gen. Petraeus was involved. It just doesn't add up," said Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
King's assertions, however were disputed by a federal law enforcement official, who said that agents briefed Petraeus on their findings about two weeks before Election Day. The official added that the White House first learned of the investigation last week.
Petraeus' affair with Broadwell will be the subject of meetings Wednesday involving congressional intelligence committee leaders, FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce and CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell.
A GOP House member reported receiving a tip on Oct. 27 that the probe was underway. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., asked House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., to speak with an FBI source regarding Petraeus. Cantor spoke to the source the same day. Cantor instructed his chief of staff, Steve Stombres, to alert the FBI director's office about the conversation.
Cantor aide Stombres spoke with the FBI director's office on Oct. 31, barely a week before the election. Cantor spokesman Doug Heye said the time lag was because the federal government was closed for two days due to Superstorm Sandy hitting the Northeast. After Stombres spoke with the FBI, "that was the end of our involvement," Heye said.
Petraeus has been married 38 years to Holly Petraeus, with whom he has two adult children, including a son who led an infantry platoon in Afghanistan as an Army lieutenant. Broadwell, an Army Reserve officer, is married with two young sons. She has not responded to requests for comment.
Feinstein said there is no evidence to suggest there was a security breach.
"Absolutely not," she said, responding to a question about a possible link to the embassy attack.
Kelley, who is married to cancer surgeon Scott Kelley and has three daughters, hosts frequent parties at her home, and newspaper accounts indicate Petraeus and his wife, Holly, have attended.
The Tampa Bay Times reported in its Feb. 5, 2010, society column that Holly and David Petraeus celebrated Tampa's Gasparilla Festival at Jill and Scott Kelley's million-dollar Bayshore home.
"Gen. David Petraeus absorbed his first Gasparilla under a white tent on Jill and Scott Kelley's front lawn," the newspaper wrote. "The CentCom commander and his wife, Holly, arrived with a 28-cop motorcycle escort."
Kelley, who grew up in Philadelphia, is of Lebanese descent. Her family, Maronite Catholics, immigrated from Jounieh, Lebanon, in the mid-1970s, according to a 1988 article about her family's restaurant, Sahara, in The Philadelphia Inquirer. She has a twin sister, the article said.
The FBl investigation that prompted Petraeus' resignation represents another tense chapter in the relationship between the two agencies.
But some analysts say the latest episode is not likely to significantly alter it.
"Because of Petraeus' stature and the unusual circumstances here, I know the FBI took no joy in bringing this forward," said Chris Swecker, a former assistant FBI director.
As for the agency's overall reputation, Swecker said the most recent incident will not affect the CIA's operations.
"The reality is that there is always going to be controversy swirling around the CIA," Swecker said. "That's just the nature of the agency."
Petraeus gained worldwide attention as he replaced Gen. Stanley McChrystal, ousted over remarks about the president, as head of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. He later was appointed by Obama to head the CIA.
A retired military officer, who asked not to be identified, said Petraeus surrounded himself with a group of academics and think tankers, and that Broadwell showed up in that context, clearly anointed by the general as his official biographer.
Contributing: Aamer Madhani, Susan Davis and Tom Vanden Brook
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