FBI reopening probe into Broadwell’s access to classified documents

posted at 8:01 am on November 14, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

At first the FBI probed the e-mails of Paula Broadwell and CIA Director David Petraeus from a suspicion of cyberstalking and harassment.  They then dropped the probe after determining that the biographer of Petraeus had a personal relationship with him, even though they discovered that Broadwell had classified documents on her computer.  After the entire probe went public and forced Petraeus to resign, FBI agents suddenly conducted a seizure of materials from Broadwell’s home — which the Washington Post reports comes from a belated curiosity into her possession of those classified documents:

The FBI is making a new push to determine how a woman who had an affair with retired Gen. David H. Petraeus when he was CIA director obtained classified files, part of an expanding series of investigations in a scandal that also threatens the career of the United States’ top military commander in Afghanistan.

Senior law enforcement officials said that a late-night seizure on Monday of boxes of material from the North Carolina home of Paula Broadwell, a Petraeus biographer whose affair with him led to his resignation last week, marks a renewed focus by investigators on sensitive material found in her possession.

“The issue of national security is still on the table,” one U.S. law enforcement official said. Both Petraeus and Broadwell have denied to investigators that he was the source of any classified information, officials said.

It is?  That’s odd to hear, especially since law-enforcement officials appeared to make it plain earlier in this scandal that no charges would be forthcoming.  The Post is rather surprised to hear this, too:

The surprise move by the FBI follows assertions by U.S. officials that the investigation had turned up no evidence of a security breach — a factor that was cited as a reason the Justice Department did not notify the White House before last week that the CIA director had been ensnared in an e-mail inquiry.

If the investigation got reopened, one has to question the reasons for the renewal of interest.  Was it because of the rising criticism of the FBI’s investigation itself, which appears to have been prompted by a personal connection to a rival of Broadwell’s within the agency?  Or perhaps the new focus on Broadwell might be a way to look for ex post facto vindication after questions about the FBI’s methods of perusing personal e-mails have come to the fore?  And if this investigation hasnot been restarted but has continued all along with an eye toward national-security breaches, why didn’t the Department of Justice notify the White House right away?

On the other hand, maybe the FBI just wants a sneak peak at Broadwell’s next book project:

Former CIA Director David Petraeus’ mistress, who wrote a biography about the top Army general, openly bragged about future projects with Petraeus as recently as October, Fox News has learned, despite a former Petraeus spokesman’s public insistence that the affair had ended four months ago. …

Fox News’ source attended a dinner Oct. 27 at the Washington Ritz-Carlton, where Broadwell was talking up the future projects.

“She said that they had two book ideas they were pursuing, and they hoped to publish again sometime in the next two years,” Fox News’ source said.

Bear in mind that this came after the first round of FBI interviews in their initial probe.  By the following week, the FBI would interview Broadwell again and determine that Broadwell had classified data on her computer — but oddly conclude that there wasn’t enough reason to tell the White House that the CIA Director’s mistress had possession of these documents.  That doesn’t make a lot of sense, which is something that can be said about this entire sex scandal, especially in relation to the Benghazi terrorist attack to which it is connected, at least by circumstance.


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