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Opinion: Former Justice Dept. Spokesman Says FBI handled Petraeus Investigation Properly

Matthew Miller is a partner at Vianovo. From 2009 to 2011, he was the Director of the Office of Public Affairs at the Department of Justice.

By Matthew Miller
Politico
 
Since the news of CIA Director David Petraeus’s extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell broke last week, members of Congress have demanded to know why they weren’t informed of the relationship sooner. Some, including House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), have also insisted that the Department of Justice had an obligation to inform the president.

“Who knew what, when?” has become such a familiar talking point in Washington, that it rolls off the tongue anytime a new scandal breaks. But the desire for those in Congress, and even others on the president’s national security team, to be instantly briefed on ongoing FBI investigations conflicts with the longstanding rules governing criminal inquiries, which specify a much more narrow distribution of information. Those rules exist to protect both the integrity of investigations themselves and the reputations of people who become implicated in them, many of whom are never charged with a crime.

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