Justice Department spoke of Petraeus case at appropriate time: Holder

NEW ORLEANS Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:24pm EST

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at a news conference in New Orleans November 15, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at a news conference in New Orleans November 15, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Bachman

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NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday defended the Justice Department's decision to hold off informing President Barack Obama of an investigation that eventually caused CIA Director David Petraeus to resign.

In his first public comments on the investigation that uncovered Petraeus' extramarital affair with biographer Paula Broadwell, Holder said the department, which he heads, told the administration at the "appropriate" point.

"We felt very secure in the knowledge that a national security threat did not exist," Holder, the chief U.S. law enforcement officer, told a news conference in New Orleans. If a threat had existed, the Justice Department "of course" would have informed Obama and U.S. lawmakers, he said.

(Reporting by Kathy Finn in New Orleans and David Ingram in Washington; Editing by Howard Goller and Eric Beech)

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