* Attempts to reach Broadwell have been unsuccessful
* Officials say national security breach is unlikely
By Tabassum Zakaria and Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON, Nov 10 The FBI investigation that
led to the discovery of CIA Director David Petraeus' affair with
author Paula Broadwell was sparked by "suspicious emails" that
initially did not contain any connection to Petraeus, U.S. law
enforcement and security officials told Reuters on Saturday.
But the CIA director's name unexpectedly turned up in the
course of the investigation, two officials and two other sources
briefed on the matter said.
It was "an issue with two women and they stumbled across the
affair with Petraeus," a U.S. government security source said.
The Washington Post reported on Saturday that the FBI probe
was triggered when Broadwell sent threatening emails to an
unidentified woman close to the CIA director.
The woman went to the FBI, which traced the threats to
Broadwell and then uncovered explicit emails between Petraeus
and Broadwell, the Post said.
Attempts by Reuters and other news media to reach Broadwell,
an Army reserve offer and author of a biography of Petraeus,
have not been successful.
The FBI and CIA declined comment on Saturday.
Many questions in the case remain unanswered publicly,
including the identity of the second woman; the precise nature
of the emails that launched the FBI investigation; and whether
U.S. security was compromised in any way.
Nor is it clear why the FBI waited until Election Day to
tell U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who
oversees the CIA and other intelligence agencies, about its
investigation involving Petraeus.
The CIA director announced his resignation suddenly on
Friday, acknowledging an extramarital affair and saying he
showed "extremely poor judgment."
The developments likely ended the public career of one of
the United States' most highly regarded generals, who was
credited with helping pull Iraq out of civil war and led U.S.
and NATO troops in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, new details emerged on Saturday about
developments in the final days leading to Petraeus' departure
from atop the CIA.
Clapper was notified by the FBI on Tuesday evening about 5
p.m. - just as returns in the U.S. presidential election were
about to come in - about "the situation involving Director
Petraeus," a senior intelligence official said. Clapper and
Petraeus then spoke that evening and the following morning.
WHITE HOUSE NOTIFIED WEDNESDAY
"Director Clapper, as a friend and a colleague and a fellow
general officer, advised Director Petraeus that he should do the
right thing and he should step down," the official said.
Clapper is a retired Air Force lieutenant general; Petraeus
served nearly four decades in the U.S. Army.
On Wednesday, Clapper notified the National Security Council
at the White House that Petraeus was considering resigning and
President Barack Obama should be informed, the official said.
U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials agreed to
discuss the Petraeus matter only on condition of anonymity
because of the issue's sensitivity and because it is the subject
of a law enforcement investigation.
Once Petraeus' name turned up in the investigation, the
importance of the FBI inquiry was immediately escalated, as
investigators became concerned the CIA chief somehow might have
been compromised, the law enforcement official said.
However, the official and two sources briefed on the matter
said no evidence has turned up suggesting Petraeus had become
vulnerable to espionage or blackmail. At this point, it appears
unlikely that anyone will be charged with a crime as a result of
the investigation, the official said.
The FBI investigation began fairly recently - months ago
rather than years ago, when Petraeus would still have been in
uniform as one of the U.S. Army's top field commanders, the
Representative Peter King, Republican chairman of the House
of Representatives' Homeland Security Committee, said in an
interview on MSNBC the FBI was "investigating or monitoring ...
the director of the CIA for four or five months."
Several officials briefed on the matter said senior
officials at the Pentagon, CIA and Congress knew nothing of the
FBI's investigation of Petraeus until Thursday afternoon at the
earliest, and some key officials were not briefed on the details
There is no evidence at this time that anyone at the White
House had knowledge of the situation involving Petraeus prior to
the U.S. presidential election on Tuesday, which saw Obama
elected to a second four-year term.
Another U.S. government security source said it was not
until Friday afternoon that some members of the House and Senate
intelligence oversight committees were notified about Petraeus'
resignation by Clapper's office.
The congressional committees were told that it was a
personal issue that Petraeus had to discuss with his wife. When
pressed, a representative of the Office of the Director of
National Intelligence said it involved another woman.