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U.S. lawmaker suggests Obama told of Petraeus affair earlier

U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus talks next to U.S. President Barack Obama at an event in the East Room of the White House in this April 28, 20
U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus talks next to U.S. President Barack Obama at an event in the East Room of the White House in this April 28, 20

(Reuters) - The head of the House Intelligence Committee suggested on Sunday that President Barack Obama might have known about former CIA Director David Petraeus' extra-marital affair before the November election, and said Attorney General Eric Holder should address this question soon before Congress.

U.S. Representative Mike Rogers, a Republican, said Holder's statement that the Justice Department had not informed the president before the election implied that Holder might have told Obama privately.

He noted that the FBI investigation of the communications between Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell arose due to concern over a counter-intelligence threat. Both Petraeus and Broadwell have said they did not share any security secrets, and investigators have said they have found no security breach.

"It probably should have been brought forward earlier as a national security threat," Rogers said.

"I'm not sure that the president was not told before Election Day. The attorney general said that the Department of Justice did not notify the president, but we don't know if the attorney general...(notified him)," Rogers said.

He said Holder should come before the intelligence committees to discuss it. "We could resolve this very quickly with a conversation in the intelligence spaces if he did have that conversation with the president."

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein disagreed, saying Holder had explained to the intelligence committees there was no notification while the investigation was under way. Justice and the FBI took this approach, she said, "so there is an ability to move ahead without any political weighing-in on any side."

The retired four star general admitted to the affair and resigned his post at the CIA three days after Obama was elected to a second term on November 6.

Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham called the FBI investigation of the affair "the oddest story in the world" and doubted Obama knew before the election. "I could see how he would not know," he said.

(Reporting by Jackie Frank; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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