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WASHINGTON: A computer used by Paula Broadwell, the woman whose affair with CIA director General David Petraeus led to his resignation, contained substantial classified information that should have been stored under more secure conditions, law enforcement and national security officials said yesterday.
The contents of the classified material and how Broadwell acquired it remain under investigation, said the officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to comment publicly.
But the quantity of classified material found on the computer was significant enough to warrant a continuing investigation, the officials said.
President Barack Obama told a news conference yesterday that there was no indication so far that any classified documents had been disclosed as a result of the scandal but said he will not prejudge the investigation results.
As a reserve officer in military intelligence, Broadwell — co-author of a biography on Petraeus — had security clearances that gave her access to classified material, several officials said. However, government rules require classified material to be stored in secure locations or computers.
Two officials familiar with the case said that one question investigators are asking was whether Broadwell followed government rules for handling classified information.
On Monday, FBI investigators searched Broadwell’s residence in Charlotte, North Carolina, an action that officials said occurred with Broadwell’s consent.
Attempts to reach Broadwell, who has remained mainly out of the public eye, have been unsuccessful. She was seen late on Tuesday at her brother’s home in Washington, DC.
It is unclear where or how Broadwell acquired the classified information. During the FBI investigation that led to the discovery of the affair between Petraeus and Broadwell, both individuals denied that Petraeus had supplied her with any classified information and the FBI accepted those explanations, law enforcement sources have said.
Law enforcement officials also have said that they believe the continuing FBI probe into the matter is likely to end without criminal charges. If Broadwell is found to have mishandled classified information, she could face action under administrative security regulations.
Still, the latest developments could quash hopes among some at the Justice Department and in Congress for a quick end to a scandal that this week also ensnared the commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, Marine General John Allen.
Petraeus has made no public statement since he announced his resignation as CIA chief on Friday.
The retired four-star Army general has agreed, however, to testify to Congress about the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, amid questions over the CIA’s actions before, during and after the assault on September 11, 2012.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein said Petraeus was willing to testify about the Benghazi attack but the timing had not yet been decided, a spokesman for the California Democrat said.
Meanwhile, US lawmakers also are demanding to know more about the timeline of the FBI’s probe into Petraeus’ affair with Broadwell. Representative Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who heads the House Judiciary Committee, wrote FBI Director Robert Mueller asking for both a timeline and whether Petraeus is the focus of a criminal probe.
Has the FBI concluded that General Petraeus is not the subject of any criminal or intelligence-related investigation?” Smith asked in the letter.
Earlier yesterday, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, speaking in Perth, Australia, warned against jumping to conclusions over the actions of Allen, a day after placing him under investigation in connection with the Petraeus scandal. Allen, who denies any wrongdoing, is being investigated for potentially inappropriate communications with Jill Kelley, a Florida socialite who is at the centre of the
Petraeus case. REUTERS