US President Barack Obama has found “no evidence” that the raging scandal that consumed CIA Director Gen David Petraeus and also embroiled America’s top general in Afghanistan, has caused any breach in national security.
Making his first public comments on the raging row over the sex scandal, Obama was restrained in his comments though he appeared to back the military commanders for now.
“I have no evidence at this point from what I’ve seen that classified information was disclosed that in any way would have had a negative impact on our national security,” he said.
Petraeus resigned abruptly last week over an extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Braodwell.
US commander in Afghanistan, Gen John Allen, also got embroiled in the controversy after a probe was opened for possible “inappropriate communications” with a Florida socialite allegedly harassed by Broadwell via anonymous emails.
“Obviously, there’s an ongoing investigation. I don’t want to comment on the specifics of the investigation,” Obama said in response to a question if there was any breach of national security due to the scandal.
60-year-old Patraeus quit as CIA chief after enforcement agencies identified Jill Kelley, 37, as the woman whose report of harassing e-mails eventually exposed an extramarital affair between Petraeus and Broadwell, a former Army officer who wrote a biography of the retired four-star general.
Obama said the FBI has its own protocols in terms of how they proceed.
“I am gonna let (Mitchell) Mueller (acting CIA director) and others examine those protocols and make some statements to the public generally,” he said.
Obama praised Petraeus for his extraordinary career.
“Gen Petraeus had an extraordinary career. He served this country with great distinction in Iraq, in Afghanistan and as head of the CIA.
“By his own assessment, he did not meet the standards that he felt were necessary as the director of CIA with respect to this personal matter that he is now dealing with his family and with his wife. And it’s on that basis that he tendered his resignation and it’s on that basis that I accepted it,” he said.
“I want to emphasise that from my perspective, at least, he has provided this country an extraordinary service. We are safer because of the work that Dave Petraeus has done. And my main hope right now is that he and his family are able to move on and that this ends up being a single side-note on what has otherwise been an extraordinary career,” Obama said.