The dramatic resignation of CIA DirectorÂ David Petraeus on Friday threatens toÂ undermine next week’s hearings into the deadly attack at the U.S. Consulate inÂ Libya, at which he was scheduled to testify.
Petraeus resigned as head of the CIAÂ following revelations he had engaged in an extramarital affair and acknowledgingÂ that he ‘showed extremely poor judgment’.
The highly-decorated general, 60, hadÂ recently traveled to Libya and the Middle East, and was to testify about theÂ Benghazi attack next week behind closed doors to the House and SenateÂ intelligence committees.
Fears have also emerged as his resignationÂ comes at an extremely sensitive time. The administration and the CIA haveÂ struggled to defend security and intelligence lapses before the attack thatÂ killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others.
It was an issue during the presidentialÂ campaign that ended with Obama’s re-election Tuesday.
Petraeus had led the CIA for only 14 months.Â His sudden departure threatened to usher in a period of instability at the spyÂ agency, which is grappling with a leveling off in its budget after a decade ofÂ steady increases.
The agency is also fending off questionsÂ about its performance before and after the attack that led to the death of U.S.Â Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi, Libya.
U.S. officials insisted that the CIA’sÂ handling of the Benghazi incident had nothing to do with Petraeus’ decision toÂ resign.
The CIA has come under intense scrutiny forÂ providing the White House and other administration officials with talking pointsÂ that led them to say the Benghazi attack was a result of a film protest, not aÂ militant terror attack.
It has become clear that the CIA was awareÂ the attack was distinct from the film protests roiling across other parts of theÂ Muslim world.
Morell rather than Petraeus now is expectedÂ to testify at closed congressional briefings next week on the Sept. 11 attacksÂ on the consulate in Benghazi.
According to the New York Times, Petraeus told the White House of the affair, only oneÂ day after Obama secured a second term in the White House.
The president did not immediately accept it,Â aides told the Times, and only reluctantly agreed to it on Friday.
News Corps’ Rupert Murdoch was one of massesÂ who took to Twitter to voice his opinion. The 81-year-old Aussie wrote: ‘Petraeus resignation. Timing, everything suspicious. There has to be more toÂ this story.’
Chiming in with her own conspiracy theory,Â conservative talk show radio host Laura Ingraham wrote: ‘CIA Chief PetrausÂ resignation…something about this stinks to high heaven.’
She added: ‘COINCIDENCE?! Petraeus is set toÂ testify NEXT week at a closed door session on Capitol Hill about Benghazi. DidÂ BHO push him out? This stinks!’
But some, like Huffington Post founderÂ Arianna Huffington, reacted to the news in a very forgiving fashion. ‘Turns outÂ Petraeus is (sic) human being. And of course we definitely can’t have humanÂ beings in government!’ she wrote.