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THE SITUATION ROOM

Tax Deal Possible?; New Details Emerge in CIA Scandal

Aired November 12, 2012 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And happening now: Former CIA Chief David Petraeus is said to be devastated by the affair that prompted the resignation. This hour, we have new details coming in right now about why the president of the United States wasn't told sooner.

Also, the woman at the center of the scandal, how she entered Petraeus' top secret world. Our guest is one of the key figures in the story personally.

And some top Republicans now sound open to making the rich pay to avoid an economic crisis.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The real-life downfall of the CIA director David Petraeus is sounding more every day like a racy spy novel, but it raises very, very serious questions about the way Washington works, how well U.S. secrets are protected and how quickly information reaches the president.

Our own Brian Todd has new details right now about the FBI investigation that uncovered Petraeus's affair.

What are you learning, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we have new information that the House majority leader Eric Cantor, the congressman from Virginia, may have found out almost two weeks before the president did about this affair. This and other timelines we're following on the investigation have led to some genuine anger over why the White House and other top congressional leaders were not told sooner.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): A timeline CNN has put together shows the Republican House majority leader may have known about former CIA Director David Petraeus' extramarital affair before the president did. That's according to aides to Congressman Eric Cantor who tell us he found out from an FBI employee concerned that national security might have been breached as a result of the affair.

Cantor was told on October 27. President Obama didn't find out about the affair until after Election Day. Congressional leaders from both parties are upset that neither they nor the president were informed until late last week. REP. PETER KING (R-NY), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Obviously, this was a matter involving a potential compromise of security. And the president should have been told about it at the earliest date.

TODD: A U.S. official said there was no breach of security as a result of the affair. A Cantor aide says the congressman called the FBI's leadership to report the information he got on October 31.

(on camera): But according to "The Wall Street Journal," the FBI's probe had already been under way for months. "The Journal" says the FBI's investigation began in May when it started looking into e- mails described as threatening sent to a woman CNN has identified as Jill Kelley, a family friend of Petraeus'.

(voice-over): The FBI traced the e-mails back to Paula Broadwell, Petraeus' biographer. And by late summer, "The Wall Street Journal" reports, the bureau had linked Broadwell to Petraeus. That's when "The Journal" says top officials informed Attorney General Eric Holder of the situation.

(on camera): Should he have let the White House know at that point?

TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think -- my personal opinion is no, because once the White House, once some staffer knows, once various people find out about something, it becomes public almost instantly. You see this all the time.

TODD (voice-over): CNN contributor Tom Fuentes, a former FBI assistant director, says under its protocols the FBI and Justice Department should have kept it inside their circles, unless there was evidence of a breach of security or criminal wrongdoing.

And there was no evidence of either. "The Journal" reports the FBI interviewed Petraeus the week before the election. And NBC News reports the bureau wrapped up its investigation on November 2.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: Now, on the complaints from top members of Congress about not being informed, a U.S. official told us that's natural but "There are protocols in place to protect people."

So why didn't Congressman Cantor go to top congressional leaders when he got the information on October 27? A Cantor aide tells us the congressman's information came from one person in one phone call, that it was unsubstantiated at the time and he felt it was up to the FBI to look into it and report it to the appropriate people in Congress when the time was right -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What was the nature of the relationship between General Petraeus and this other woman, Jill Kelley?

TODD: She described by every account we know of as a family friend, but sources tell CNN that Petraeus said he didn't have an affair with anyone but Paula Broadwell, and that's the information we know at the moment.

BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting, thank you.

We have new information, also, about the e-mails that led to the FBI's investigation of General Petraeus.

Kate Bolduan is here to pick up this part of the story.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: So many moving parts of this story, Wolf.

CNN confirmed that Petraeus told Paula Broadwell to stop sending harassing e-mails to Jill Kelley. A U.S. official spoke with CNN producer Carol Cratty.

As Brian mentioned, that official says the nature of the e-mails to Kelley was along the lines of stay away. But we're told the messages did not explicitly threaten violence and that Petraeus wasn't mentioned in there by name. As more details merge, members of Congress have question they want answered.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: A lot of questions out there need to be answered.

Our chief political analyst Gloria Borger has been doing work on this story and you're doing some reporting. What have you learned?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee, the chairman and the ranking Democrat are going to be meeting on first thing Wednesday morning with the acting CIA director, Mike Morrell, and the deputy FBI director, Sean Joyce, about the Petraeus investigation.

This is not about Libya, Benghazi, this is particularly about the questions of whether they should have been informed on this before they were informed and what occurred. One source with knowledge of the session that will take place said it will be a big-time dive in to the question of what the National Security Act requires them to do because I think it's a little fuzzy on whether they should have been informed. After all, it wasn't a covert operation. This was a criminal investigation that was resolved without national security implications.

As you guys already know, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, has the same kind of questions and she wants to make sure I think that there are things that were not floating out there that she didn't know about, for example, General Petraeus's recent trip to the Middle East. And she's -- you know, I think they're all kind of concerned about why they weren't informed and, in fact, maybe why the president wasn't informed.

BLITZER: Actually went to Libya, too.

BORGER: That's right. He went to Benghazi.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: In the aftermath of Benghazi.

BOLDUAN: We're hearing for the first time some new comments from the former CIA director, now Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. What is he saying about this Petraeus thing?

BORGER: Leon Panetta is in an interesting situation, because he's also a former member of Congress.

BOLDUAN: He's been in all three of these, yes.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: He's been in all of these and here's what he said today en route to Asia. I will read this to you: "As a former director of the CIA and having worked very closely with the Intelligence Committees, you know I believe there's a responsibility to make sure that the Intelligence Committees are informed of issues that could affect, you know, the security of these intelligence operations."

So it's clear that Panetta is sort of saying there, well, you know, they do have a point and that they ought to have known. If you're the FBI, though, there's a real question here, which is, you have to be really careful. They're all haunted by J. Edgar Hoover and the notion that they'd be investigating another agency or somebody in a powerful position to use for blackmail, et cetera.

So I think what they did -- I have talked to law enforcement officials today. I think what they did is erred on the side of caution which is no national security implications, criminal investigation, and then went to Clapper, who is Petraeus' boss, when it was completed. People will be second-guessing that, including members of Congress.

BLITZER: Gloria, thanks for that good reporting. Thanks very much.

CNN, by the way, has repeatedly tried to contact Paula Broadwell for her comment. She has not yet responded. A neighbor does tell CNN she has been in touch with Broadwell because she's helping take care of her North Carolina house. She wouldn't reveal exactly where Broadwell is right now.

Let's bring in Tom Ricks right now, author of the new book "The Generals." Tom is a well-known military expert, correspondent for "The Washington Post" in his older days and he knows both General Petraeus and Paula Broadwell.

Have you heard anything from either of them over the weekend? We spoke on Friday, Tom.

THOMAS RICKS, MILITARY CORRESPONDENT, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I have not heard from either of them, no.

BLITZER: What is your sense? Because you know both of them quite well, and in fact, there was one report and I think you confirmed it -- you helped her get the book contract for that biography of General Petraeus. Is that right?

RICKS: I wouldn't say I know them both quite well. I have known Petraeus for about 15 years. I have known Paula Broadwell I think probably for about four years. But it's been sort of a professional sort of dealings with them. For example, I have never had dinner with Petraeus.

I helped Paula with the book thing, as I have helped many people who are interested in writing books. I basically said here I will forward your e-mail to my book editor who has published several of those books and rejected several of those books.

BLITZER: But did you ever in your wildest imagination suspect that there was something going on between the two of them other than professional business if you will?

RICKS: No. I really thought that David Petraeus was the last person who would get involved with something like this, partly because of his high profile, partly because he has for so long wanted to be a general, wanted to be a top commander, that I was surprised that he would jeopardize his career this way.

But, of course, we are told that this all happened after he retired from the military, so maybe he felt it was time to let his hair down.

BLITZER: Is it possible he could have stayed in his position even after acknowledging this sexual affair?

RICKS: I think so. That's the thing that puzzles me.

Today is Veterans Day. What we want to give our military people is good leaders. David Petraeus has been one of the better generals we have had in recent years, really one of the few generals known to the American public since World War II. Here we are over a personal lapse that's not illegal between two consenting adults throwing him out the window.

I don't think we as a nation have so many good leaders that we can avoid to dispense with them so easily. We certainly did not in World War II when Dwight Eisenhower had a fairly high-profile relationship with his red-haired British chauffeur, Kay Summersby.

Another great general, Matthew Ridgway, who turned around the Korean War in early 1951, seemed to get a new wife for every war. We have somehow changed the standards. We are not very strong about making sure that people are professionally competent and we're kind of lax on that, but we're very strict about people's private affairs.

I just don't get it, nor do I understand quite why the FBI thought it was its business to investigate e-mails of Paula Broadwell and this woman in Tampa.

BLITZER: I guess they thought that if Paula Broadwell was sending harassing e-mails to this third woman, Jill Kelley down in Tampa, that they had a responsibility to see what was going on. I guess that's the explanation we get from the FBI.

RICKS: Who cares whether somebody is having an affair if they're doing their job right? I mean, it seems to me this word should not have been spread around Congress.

The second that somebody was told in Congress, the word probably would have been out and I think that would have been an invasion of the privacy of two consenting adults. I just don't get where we are as a country right now, especially with David Petraeus. Here's a guy who did three combat tours in Iraq, another combat tour in Afghanistan, has given greatly, him and his family, in recent years.

Yet when the time came for our nation to be generous in response, we have not been.

BLITZER: Because I suppose he could have just left quietly at the end of this first term of the president's, like others, like Hillary Clinton, for example, or Leon Panetta. They're going to leave the Cabinet positions. I suppose they could have worked out a way just to said, I have had enough. I'm going back in to the private sector without all of this sordid information being made public, but maybe that was just simply impossible.

RICKS: Well, that was the old school FBI way and I think President Obama probably had that option to say, hey, Dave, suck it up. Get back to work. Make a proper amends to your wife. Maybe go down the Kobe Bryant road and buy her a nice piece of jewelry, but make the amends you need to make in your private life and get back to work.

I don't know why the president didn't say that.

BLITZER: Well, yes, Tom, he didn't say that and General Clapper, who's head of -- the director of national intelligence, told him the smart thing to do is resign and get it over with, which is what General Petraeus did, and he's paying the price for that right now.

Hey, Tom, we will continue this conversation. Thanks again for joining us.

RICKS: You're welcome.

BOLDUAN: A friend of David Petraeus is talking to CNN. He believes the retired general was vulnerable to was vulnerable to having an affair. We will have more on this unfolding story coming up.

Also, 50 days until a possible economic crisis, there may be new hope for a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Well, 50 days and counting until automatic budget cuts and tax hikes take effect that could throw the U.S. economy for a loop. Both parties are sounding a little more optimistic though that a deal will be struck in the days and weeks ahead to avoid what's called the fiscal cliff.

New concessions by some Republicans may be key.

Here's our senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, talks begin in earnest this week to avoid the fiscal cliff at the end of the year and both sides are coming the table trying to sound as agreeable as possible, positioning themselves to blame the others if things fall apart, since independent analysts say that would drive the economy back into a recession.

(voice-over): The halls of the Capitol eerily quiet as Congress commemorates Veterans Day, but this stillness will soon be replaced by frenzy to avoid the fiscal cliff. Public posturing however is well under way.

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: We can't accept an unfair deal that piles all of this on the middle class and tells them they have to support it.

SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R), GEORGIA: You do have to have revenues on the table, but that does not mean raising taxes.

BASH: But there are new cracks in that GOP pledge. Conservative commentator Bill Kristol.

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": It won't kill the country to raise taxes a little bit on millionaires. It really won't, I don't think. I don't really understand why Republicans don't take Obama's offer to freeze taxes for everyone below $250,000, making $500,000, making a million. Really?

BASH: He doesn't get a vote. GOP Senator Bob Corker does.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: We know there has to be revenues and I think, look, I haven't met a wealthy Republican or Democrat in Tennessee that's not willing to contribute more as long as they know we have solved the problems.

BASH: Still, even if Republicans agree to raise taxes on wealthy Americans, there is still a big divide over how to do that. Democrats pledge to let Bush era tax rates for families making $250,000 or more expire at the end of the year, go from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, to get nearly a trillion dollars in deficit reduction.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: If someone can show another plan that doesn't do that, we could look at it, but no one's shown one because I think it's mathematically impossible.

BASH: Republicans say what they're open to is closing tax loopholes and eliminating some reductions. So far, the president and House speaker have gone out of their way to sound conciliatory, which sources in both parties tell CNN is all about positioning themselves to look reasonable.

But each man faces unique pressure from within his own party. In the Senate, for example, several Democrats facing reelection in two years are from red states and may be reluctant to vote for tax increases. On the GOP side, Boehner has a caucus full of Republicans who signed a pledge sponsored by Grover Norquist not to raise taxes and he isn't budging.

GROVER NORQUIST, PRESIDENT, AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM: The problem is not that the peasants aren't sending enough money in Washington. We need to reduce total spending and we do need more revenue.

BASH (on camera): According to Norquist's Web site, 236 House members signed his pledge not to raise taxes. That's all but six House Republicans. But as CNN first reported on this program last week, House Speaker John Boehner used a post-election conference call with rank and file Republicans to plead for patience to give him running room to negotiate with the president, who after all just win reelection, mandate or not -- Wolf.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Dana Bash, thanks very much. Let's hope they work out a deal, the stakes obviously enormous.

BOLDUAN: As we were talking last week, there's quite a lot of nice talk, but we're oh so far from being close to a deal quite yet, but obviously we're going to continuing to follow it.

Still ahead, neighbors heard a blast and thought it might be an earthquake. We will have the latest on what caused a deadly explosion that damaged dozens of homes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

BLITZER: People who know David Petraeus have some very strong opinions about the scandal that cost him his job as the CIA director. Stand by for our panel on the personal and the political fallout.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: A number of U.S. officials are insisting that General David Petraeus' affair did not compromise national security in any way.

BOLDUAN: But the fall of the now former CIA director clearly has tarnished his reputation and it's raising all sorts of questions.

BLITZER: All right, we have lots to talk about.

Let's bring in our senior political analyst, David Gergen, our senior national security contributor, Fran Townsend, the former Bush homeland security adviser. She's also, by the way, a member of the CIA's external advisory committee. And former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes, a CNN contributor.

Let's talk a little bit about what's going on over here. David, I'll start with you. Paula Broadwell, you knew her because you were -- you are affiliated with the Kennedy School at Harvard. She was taking courses there. She wrote this.

She posted one of General Petraeus's words of advice on the "Newsweek" Daily Beast blog on November 5. She said this. This is before the scandal erupted, that we knew about it.

"We all will make mistakes," she quoted him as saying, one of his rules. "The key is to recognize them and admit them, to learn from them, take off the rear-view mirrors, drive on and avoid making them again."

What's interesting is when she posted those -- those recommendations, those laws, if you will, for living, those rules for living by General -- she already had been questioned by the FBI about this affair, about this relationship. She reportedly acknowledged it.

Give us a little insight. What do you make of this?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think there's a rule she drew from General Petraeus. He's given her lots of talks and talked to her a long time. But in his talks he often talks about rules for leadership and rules for living and that sort of thing. So Fran can correct me, but I think that's something that he had said.

But it seems particularly poignant and obviously is included in that list, because I think she understood that things like this might happen, that very rapidly this whole thing would fall apart, and his career would be -- his career at the CIA would be ended.

But I must say, Wolf, my sense of him, and as you know, I've had some communication, private, but my sense is that -- that he is doing exactly what he admonished in that rule. He acknowledged he made a mistake. He effectively said, "I did something dishonorable. I have to do the honorable thing and resign."

And now he's trying to put himself back together. He's got to do that with his own family. And he knows he has to do it with his career. But I can tell you, this is a guy who looks forward, and I think he'll be back. I think we have not heard the last of David Petraeus in public life.

BOLDUAN: And Fran, let me bring you in on this. You've described the whole situation as death by a thousand cuts. Explain what you mean. What went wrong here?

FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, look. I mean, I think David is exactly right. You're going to see David Petraeus. He's going to pick himself up and take those rear-view mirrors off, right? And he is going to be back in public life.

But like any military campaign, he's got to sort of work his way through it. He's going to deal with his family first, and then he's going to have to do the inevitable first interviews. He's going to have to do the first public appearances and chart the way forward.

And you know, as a nation we want him to do that. He needs to be part of the public policy debate. He's smart. He was an extraordinary public servant. He's made a mistake. We want him to find the way back into public life, because we need smart voices like his.

I mean, look, I say it's a death by a thousand cuts, because literally every hour we learn one more fact. Who knew at the White House and when they knew? We find out that the general did admonish Broadwell to not send these harassing e-mails.

So because the facts come out a little bit at a time, they leak. They dribble out. It keeps this -- it breathes oxygen into a story that otherwise we all ought to be kind of tired of at this point.

BLITZER: You heard Tom Ricks, Tom, the author -- the author of "The Generals," a military affairs correspondent a long time for "The Washington Post," suggest this hour that the FBI really shouldn't have gotten involved in this. This was a private affair that the general had with this other woman. It was no business building it up into a full-scale FBI investigation. What do you say?

TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I say that if that was the case, he might be right, but that's not really what happened here. What happened is that someone makes a complaint that they're being -- not just harassed but receiving threatening...

BLITZER: This third woman, Jill Kelly.

FUENTES: Exactly. Jill Kelly reports or makes a complaint she's receiving threatening messages by e-mail over the Internet. It's a federal violation, and the FBI has jurisdiction to investigate that. That starts the investigation. The FBI doesn't go into this looking at somebody having an affair. That comes up later in the case, but that's not what started this investigation.

BLITZER: So did they conclude, based on what you know, that it was Paula Broadwell who was sending these supposedly threatening e- mails to Jill Kelly?

FUENTES: Yes. The sequence is that they look at the messages that she received.

BLITZER: So was that a crime?

FUENTES: If it -- depending on the nature of the threats it could be. And it's very borderline.

BLITZER: Is it -- no charges are going to be filed.

FUENTES: Right. Ultimately the U.S. Attorney's Office, Department of Justice, determines...

BLITZER: I heard the point that Ricks was making. If there are no criminal charges, if there's no national security violation, why did the FBI have to, quote, you know, blow this thing up out of all proportion? That's the argument that some of Petraeus's supporters have suggested.

FUENTES: Wolf, they didn't blow it out of proportion. It got blown out of proportion when it became public, as would be expected because of the tabloid nature of the whole thing.

So they are doing the investigation of was a crime committed? Who is the one sending these e-mails to Jill Kelly? They determined who that is through the Internet, through subpoenaing her Internet records.

When they get those records, they want to read is she by herself? Is she threatening or sending messages to other people in the government in high positions? If so, who? And then they see this exchange of e-mails from another anonymous account. They subpoena those records and identify that that's Director Petraeus.

BLITZER: All right. Everybody stand by. Stand by, David. I know you want to weigh in. We're going to take a quick break, but we're going to continue this conversation.

BOLDUAN: Yes, our panel discussion continues in a moment.

Up next, more on the classified information found on Paula Broadwell's computer.

Plus, Paul Ryan's first interview since the election.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're back with our panel. We're talking about the David Petraeus scandal, what might happen next. David Gergen, you were anxious to weigh in. Go ahead.

DAVID GERGEN: I am. Tom, I'd just like to put this to you. Because I've heard from a number of people who find it chilling, chilling that an individual, Miss Kelly, gets an e-mail that she finds threatening and goes to a friend in the FBI. He can get an investigation ginned up, and an investigation ultimately concludes there was no harassment, there was no harassment.

And yet, the FBI goes and opens up and hacks into the e-mail accounts of the person who sent those messages. And -- and then you have this cascading set of investigations.

And that same friend later on starts calling a Republican congressman to complain and put him on notice. A lot of people don't understand that -- and are shocked to believe that, if they send something on the Internet to somebody that the other person doesn't like, that they may get their e-mails investigated.

BOLDUAN: Go ahead, Tom. Respond to that.

FUENTES: David, it's not a matter of whether they don't like it or whether it just appears to be harassing. When that complaint is made, and it goes to the cyber squad of the FBI in this case division, those agents, when they see the first group of e-mails with the threats that are made or with the content of those e-mails, they would actually go to the U.S. attorney's office and say, "Will you prosecute this case if we identify the sender and solve it?"

And if the U.S. attorney's office says, "No, this just appears to be a private matter or it's merely harassment, we won't prosecute," the case is over. The FBI stops the investigation. It's referred to as a declination of prosecution.

GERGEN: But -- but they have concluded there was no harassment.

TOWNSEND: Right.

FUENTES: Pardon me? I'm sorry. You were both...

GERGEN: The FBI...

TOWNSEND: The fact is based on what we know now, there was no harassment concluded, and there was nothing threatening. I mean, no one has described these e-mails as having been threatening. And I said -- so I think what the point David is trying to make, and I think it's a legitimate question, what was the underlying predicate that the FBI had, when this private citizen got a harassing e-mail, to open up the preliminary inquiry?

I mean, it is a legitimate question. It's not clear. And I do think this becomes not about the threat or the harassment, whatever you want to call this thing related to Kelly. This really becomes the FBI's cyber division is concerned that Petraeus's private e-mail has been hacked into. That's why they continue this. That's the crime they're looking at.

This is a red herring about harassment of Jill Kelly, who's a private citizen and a social liaison to (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It's ludicrous. That's not a predicate.

BOLDUAN: Do you think they overstepped that?

BLITZER: Go ahead, Tom.

BOLDUAN: Do you think they overstepped here?

FUENTES: A determination would be made that, you know, what is the content of these messages? They would take that to the U.S. attorney's office and determine whether or not this might be a prosecutable offense.

BOLDUAN: Do you think it's impossible for them to move forward without the go ahead of the Justice Department?

FUENTES: It's a matter of policy, in any criminal investigation, if the FBI does not get basically the permission of the U.S. attorney's office or the assurance by the U.S. attorney's office that they might prosecute, that it appears to be a criminal matter, that's called a declination of profession. The case is over.

BLITZER: David, go ahead.

TOWNSEND: They do not -- they do not bring that on the front end before they open up a preliminary inquiry. That is just not accurate. They don't do that. They will make their own internal determination if there's a predicate to open up a preliminary inquiry.

Tom, I helped quite the FBI's guidelines, so I know it very well. They didn't yet go -- they didn't take that in the first instance to the U.S. attorney's office.

BOLDUAN: So Fran, are you saying you think the FBI overstepped here? Because we're going back and forth about this.

TOWNSEND: I think it's a legitimate question. What David is raising is a legitimate question to ask. What was the FBI's predicate to open up the preliminary inquiry? In order to judge whether or not they made an accurate assessment, you have to see the e-mails that Jill Kelly brought to them. But we don't know that.

And I think because we don't know that, there are the questions that David Gergen is rightly raising. Did they have a legitimate basis? I think that's part of the reason that Congress is asking so many questions about it.

BLITZER: We'll let Tom go ahead and respond.

FUENTES: Well, I haven't seen the e-mails either so we don't know for sure what the exact content was. But the people that did review it in Tampa and later in Washington determined that they felt it was a sufficient enough threat to go forward and at least identify who is sending the threatening e-mails.

And when they get those records, which identify Paula Broadwell, then who else is she in contact with? They would subpoena her Internet records and see that is she e-mailing other people? Is she threatening other officials in the government? Is this part of a bigger group? Is it a greater conspiracy or is it just a personal matter?

During the course of that investigation, they identify anonymous e-mails from another account to her and from her. And that, when those records were subpoenaed, leads to the identification that those messages were coming back and forth from Director Petraeus.

BLITZER: All right, guys. Unfortunately, we're going to have to continue this conversation tomorrow, because we're all out of time right now. But you raise serious, serious questions about the FBI. Tom Ricks, at the beginning of this hour raised those questions, as well.

Did the FBI go too far in this investigation, effectively ruining the career of General Petraeus? Those are questions we're not going to resolve right now, so we'll continue this conversation, continue this investigation.

Erin Burnett is also looking in to Paula Broadwell. She's going "OUTFRONT" on this story.

Erin, give our viewers a little preview of what's coming up at the top of the hour.

ERIN BURNETT, HOST, "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT": All right, Wolf. We're going to talk about the latest of the investigation with some former agents, about what the FBI might have been done. Did it overstep? And whether there possibly is classified information that was leaked.

We're also going to tell you more in depth on who exactly Paula Broadwell is. That's coming up at the top of the hour.

Plus, the Bowles in Simpson-Bowles. I don't know if you remember, Wolf, but earlier this week Paul Krugman, the noted on the left side of things but a very noted economist had put out a thing saying to the president, don't do a deal. He wrote it in "The New York Times." Erskine Bowles said that's absolutely crazy, and he lays out what the deal is he thinks should be done.

Plus, Wolf, today, I was out in the far Rockaways, one of the hardest hit areas. You have these big jets coming into JFK, with people coming to the lights of Manhattan. They're landing in a neighborhood that is in true distress. And we're going to tell you what we saw there today.

Plus, the very inspirational story of a young man named William who wants to join the Marines on this Veterans Day. Back to you.

BLITZER: Good work, Erin. We'll see you at the top of the hour. Thank you.

BURNETT: All right.

BOLDUAN: Still ahead this hour, a friend of David Petraeus says the former CIA chief is devastated. Stand by for more inside information about the Petraeus scandal and what happens next.

Plus, Paul Ryan speaks out for the first time about what went wrong for his ticket in Ohio.

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BLITZER: Let's get some more now on the scandal that led to the resignation of the CIA director, General David Petraeus. A source telling CNN his extramarital affair began two months after he started his job over at the spy agency.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And it apparently was a difficult transition period for the retired four-star general.

Let's bring in our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has been tracking all of the developments on this.

Barbara, you spoke with an old friend of Petraeus. How's the general reacting to all of this?

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I've spoken to two people now, a decades-old friend of his, someone I know quite well, and also his former spokesman in Iraq, retired Colonel Steven Boylan. Both men have spoken to Petraeus, the friend as well as Boylan.

And Petraeus is pretty much saying the same thing, that he, Petraeus, is devastated by what he's done, the pain he's caused his family, the CIA and the U.S. military, all the troops who served with him.

But you know, let's face it. The person who may be in the most pain may here be Mrs. Holly Petraeus. She is said by General Petraeus to be furious.

BLITZER: You also, Barbara, you know, have learned more about the friend, about this friend, about the timing of this whole affair, what was going on. Some of the emotion behind it. What have you learned?

STARR: Well, what we are being told is that Petraeus may have had -- no excuse, but may have had a very difficult time, perhaps more emotional time than he realized when he retired from the Army after 37 years last year. And then a couple -- he takes a couple of months off, he goes to the CIA. And two months later, he begins the relationship, the inappropriate relationship, the affair, with Paula Broadwell.

What both of the sources we've talked to have said is Petraeus is reflecting on the emotion of having left the Army, that sheltered, taken care of existence where he had camaraderie. He had friends. He could talk to people.

And he goes to the high-level isolation of the CIA, where basically, he doesn't have anybody to talk to. He's the outsider coming in and he is the spy master. He is supposed to be the expert at keeping his cards close to his vest and keeping his mouth shut. Not talking to anybody about what he feels.

Not an excuse for what he did, but he did, but he is reflecting on this and he has told these people that perhaps hit -- leaving the Army hit him a lot harder than he realized at the time.

BOLDUAN: And the subject of Benghazi also came up. What are you learning there?

STARR: Well, we are told that Petraeus was looking forward to testifying on Capitol Hill. That that is what he's telling the people who have talked to him and they are telling us in turn. That he wanted to come to the Hill, he wanted to testify on Benghazi. There was a surveillance tape that he would have wanted, if he could, to have shown that would have showed what was going on, what the reaction was by various people there.

But that's, you know, it's not going to be Petraeus now. It will be his deputy, Mike Morrell, and as we have said consistently, all indications are that Mike Morrell knows exactly the same information that David Petraeus knows about what happened that night in Benghazi.

BLITZER: I suspect there will be plenty of members of Congress who will want to subpoena General Petraeus to appear as a private citizen, explain what he knew and when he knew it.

All right, Barbara. Thanks very much.

The former vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, is now speaking out about the Republicans' loss of the White House. The Wisconsin congressman gave his first one-on-one interview since the election to CNN affiliate WISN in Milwaukee. Here's some of that interview.

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REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), FORMER VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Once we realized that we probably weren't going to win Ohio, I think that's when we kind of realized that it wasn't going to turn out for us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reports that you and Governor Romney and your wives were shocked by the results that were coming in, true?

RYAN: It is true. Yes, we -- the polling we had, the numbers we were looking at looked like we stood a pretty good chance of winning. And so when the numbers came in, you know, going the other direction, we saw the kind of turnout that was occurring in urban areas, which are fairly unprecedented, it did come as a bit of a shock. Those are the tough kinds of losses to have, the ones that catch you by surprise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Paul Ryan, speaking with reporter Ken Wainscot (ph) of our CNN affiliate, WISN in Milwaukee.

BOLDUAN: Still ahead, why would marijuana smokers mug for the cameras? Not a question I've asked recently. Jeanne Moos, though, is looking into it, next.

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BLITZER: Pot smokers are coming out of the shadows right now. CNN's Jeanne Moos explains.

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JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You know all those faceless joint puffing shots you see on the news? Well, now, they're mugging for the camera without fear of ending up in a mug shot. Thanks to ballot victories in Colorado and Washington state, some are contemplating a future of legalized pot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to be historic. It's going to be like "You know what? I want to get high today." And you go to the store and you buy your weed.

MOOS: "The Daily Show" showcased the happiest stoner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It means I'm going to smoke a lot of weed tonight!

MOOS: But news people also seemed unable to suppress a grin.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: As someone who hosts a show on Saturday night on CNN, there's a lot of pot smokers watching, I'm sure.

MOOS: It's a phenomenon first notice by Jon Stewart.

JON STEWART, HOST, COMEDY CENTRAL'S "THE DAILY SHOW": How much does talking about a marijuana story gives news anchor the giggles.

MOOS: From Brian Williams talking about the munchies...

LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS: I guess they don't have Entenmann's out there. I'm just going to take a guess you've heard the term "munchies" before.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Yes, for the mallomars.

MOOS: ... to CNBC passing the bong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a two-bong-hit lunch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's a bong?

MOOS: Though "FOX and Friends" stayed stern.

STEVE DOOCY, CO-HOST, FNC'S "FOX & FRIENDS": What's to keep somebody from all potted up on weed and then getting behind the wheel?

STEWART: Come on, Steve. Be cool; it's weeded up on pot.

MOOS (on camera): You know who loudly supports legalizing pot? Just about every late-night studio audience.

JAY LENO, HOST, NBC'S "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Legalized marijuana for recreational use.

(CHEERING)

CRAIG FERGUSON, HOST, CBS'S "THE LATE, LATE SHOW": Legalizing marijuana.

(CHEERING)

MOOS (voice-over): Stewart protected his ears with headphones.

Leno did a bit on the media's appetite for this story.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a huge decision for the city of Denver, but now, it becomes a federal issue.

MOOS: And talk about being fired up.

LEMON: Alcohol is much worse for you than pot. Alcohol is much worse...

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Stop for one second so I can ask a question. Stop, oh, my God.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don smoked pot before this show.

MOOS: No, if Don had smoked pot, he wouldn't be arguing. He'd be like this guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know -- I don't remember exactly what I was going to say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to end my hard workday smoking a joint instead of drinking. Like I want to be social without a hangover.

MOOS: Maybe without a hangover, but watch out for the Colorado cough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Praise the lord. Praise the people. The people have spoken, so (HUMMING).

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Angels are singing.

MOOS: ... New York.

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BLITZER: I've got nothing else to say. That's it for us.

BOLDUAN: That's how we're going to end the show.

BLITZER: Thanks very much for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.