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Both Democrats and Republicans have expressed fears that Petraeus’ affair may have resulted in sensitive national security information being compromised, and while the FBI found no evidence of that, some lawmakers made it clear on Monday that felt cut out and intended to ask further questions.
An aide to Sen. Charles E. Grassley, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said the Iowa lawmaker is pursuing more information from the FBI. The panel has oversight authority over the bureau.
“Sen. Grassley’s staff has requested a briefing on the FBI’s role,” spokeswoman Beth Levine said. “Like many Americans, the ranking member has questions for the bureau and the Justice Department that, if the administration answers, may shed light on who knew what, when they knew it and the implications on national security.”
Feinstein repeated her promise to investigate why her committee, which oversees the CIA, was not informed about the FBI inquiry until Petraeus’ resignation.
“You cannot keep these things from the people who have responsibility for oversight,” Feinstein told MSNBC on Monday, adding that she “absolutely” should have been informed about Petraeus.
Feinstein said the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are routinely briefed on “operationally sensitive matters.” She added, “This is certainly an operationally sensitive matter, but we weren’t briefed. I don’t know who made that decision.”
While key senators are seeking more information about the investigation, one of the few members of Congress who knew of the FBI investigation before Petraeus resigned — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. — has not made any determination about whether any reporting protocols or laws were violated by the law enforcement agency, according to a spokesman.
“We cannot speculate. We simply don’t know all the facts,” Cantor spokesman Rory Cooper said. “If there is a threat to national security or classified information, the FBI is obligated to inform Congress.”
At the very least, there are likely to be political ramifications surrounding the FBI’s conduct, particularly from Feinstein’s committee. The Senate Intelligence Committee has previously sought more accountability and communication from the FBI.
“In several instances the FBI has not kept the committee fully and currently informed of its intelligence activities, nor has it responded to congressional questions for the record in a reasonable time frame,” the committee said in a 2009 report.
Kevin Whitelaw and Rob Margetta contributed to this report.