News Wrap: Former CIA Director Petraeus Denies Leaking Classified Materials
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KWAME HOLMAN: Former CIA Director David Petraeus denied today he gave classified information to the woman he had an affair with, Paula Broadwell. He spoke to CNN. That came as the CIA announced an exploratory investigation of Petraeus’ conduct. His relationship with Broadwell came to light during an FBI investigation that began last summer.
Today, Attorney General Eric Holder defended the bureau’s decision not to alert President Obama and congressional leaders.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: We made the determination as we were going through the matter that there wasn’t a threat to national security. Had we made the determination that a threat to national security existed, we would, of course, have made that known to the president and also to the appropriate members on the Hill.
KWAME HOLMAN: That investigation also has led to a Pentagon probe of the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Marine General John Allen. He’s under scrutiny for extensive communications with a Tampa, Fla., woman. Allen has denied wrongdoing.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said today no other senior military officials appear to be involved. He spoke during a trip to Thailand.
DEFENSE SECRETARY LEON PANETTA: I’m not aware of any others that could be involved in this issue at the present time. Obviously, as this matter continues to be investigated both on Capitol Hill and by the inspector general, I’m sure that we will have to wait and see what additional factors are brought to our attention.
KWAME HOLMAN: Panetta now has ordered an ethics review for military officers. He said he’s asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff to reexamine the training of senior commanders to avoid similar incidents in the future.
The 17-member nations of the Eurozone have fallen back into recession for the first time in three years. From July to September, the Eurozone’s economy contracted by a 10th of a percent. That was the second straight quarter of negative growth, the technical definition of a recession. The Netherlands saw its economy shrink the most by a dramatic 1.1 percent.
On Wall Street today, stocks were down after major retailers issued disappointing forecasts and on news that first-time claims for jobless benefits hit an 18-month high. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 28 points to close at 12,542. The Nasdaq fell nearly 10 points to close below 2,837.
The U.S. Postal Service reported today it lost nearly $16 billion in the fiscal year that ended in October. That’s a record, and it’s more than three times the losses of the previous year. Much of the shortfall, some $11 billion, was in unpaid health benefits for future retirees. In response, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe called again for Congress to pass a postal overhaul bill.
The $23 billion Global Fund to Fight AIDS, T.B. and malaria has fired its top internal watchdog, citing unsatisfactory performance. His office had uncovered millions of dollars in financial losses. And his reports had caused some groups to withhold donations. Separately, the fund today named a new executive director, Mark Dybul. He served as global AIDS coordinator to President George W. Bush.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.