Disgraced Petraeus too busy with affair fallout to give evidence in Benghazi inquiry

Republicans demand General attends inquiry on Benghazi killings as he handles affair fallout

Los Angeles

David Petraeus has devoted the days since his resignation to a so-far-futile effort to placate his wife, a close friend said yesterday, hinting the disgraced General will be unwilling to face lawmakers until he has got his family affairs in order.

The former CIA director, who resigned on Friday, spent the weekend with Holly, his wife of 38 years. She is outraged by revelations that General Petraeus had a fling with his official biographer.

"She's not exactly pleased right now," said Steve Boylan, a retired US Army Colonel and former spokesman for General Petraeus. "In my conversation with David this weekend, he said that furious would be an understatement. He deeply hurt the family, and he knows that, and right now his whole focus is going to be either towards taking care of the family or getting through this."

Mr Boylan, pictured below, who was speaking with ABC television, has apparently been authorised to address the media on behalf of General Petraeus. He said the 60-year-old General hopes to now be given "time and space" to "heal" and rebuild trust with his wife and their grown-up sons.

That may put him on a collision course with Republicans in Washington, who stressed yesterday that there will be little let-up in their efforts to force him to appear before a Senate committee investigating the murder of Christopher Stevens, the US Ambassador to Libya.

General Petraeus was due to speak at a closed-door session of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. But his departure means members must instead cross-examine his successor, Michael Morell, over the agency's failure to prevent the 11 September tragedy.

Speaking to Fox News yesterday, several Republican lawmakers underlined their intention to force General Petraeus to give evidence about the incident, which saw Mr Stevens and three others killed during what appears to be a long-planned terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi.

"He's going to have to [testify]," said Trey Gowdy, of South Carolina. "There's no way we can get to the bottom of Benghazi without David Petraeus. So while he may not be around next week because he's got personal matters, the week after that and the week after that and the week after that, this excuse will run stale."

Jason Chaffetz of Utah added that there is "no reason" why General Petraeus shouldn't still testify.

Details are still emerging about the circumstances that led to the resignation. General Petraeus decided to quit on Friday after learning that the FBI was investigating threatening emails that his mistress, Paula Broadwell, had sent to a second woman, Jill Kelley.

Ms Broadwell, who is 40, had apparently become jealous of the General's relationship with Ms Kelley, a social liaison officer for the US military who lives in Florida. The New York Post reports that she emailed her saying: "I know what you did", "back off!" and "stay away from my guy!"

In a statement, Ms Kelley, who is married, said that she is "friends" with General Petraeus, but vigorously denied any romantic relationship. "We and our family have been friends with General Petraeus and his family for over five years," she said. "We respect his and his family's privacy and want the same for us and our three children."

When the FBI looked at Ms Broadwell's emails as part of a cyber-bullying investigation, they discovered thousands of messages General Petraeus had sent her from a private account. Among the email trains that revealed the existence of an affair was one in which the couple allegedly discussed performing a sex act under the desk in his office.

Ms Broadwell, who is married with two small children, was also in possession of classified information, although the FBI does not believe it came from General Petraeus. Their affair appears to have turned physical after the General left the army last year, and continued until around the time he joined the CIA.

Although the snowballing scandal has been ugly for all involved, there is at least one crumb of comfort for Ms Broadwell. Her biography, All In, has leapt up the bestseller lists. Having been 76,792 on the Amazon charts before the resignation, it was last night flirting with the top 100.

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