Mitchell Reports | November 12, 2012
>>> the intelligence community is still taking in what is a stunning fall from grace for general david petraeus . joining me now is david ignatius , with "the washington post ," who's covered the intelligence community and knows the general very well here, and overseas. did you see any sign of this? and how is the cia reacting to what has happened?
>> well, taking those in turn, general petraeus has always been a person who was just intense and focused and, you know, you done get to be a four- star general without being a man who's in command, a man or woman who's in command, and he was. since he came back and took the cia job, he loosened up a little bit. he didn't have as big a staff to manage. he was, you know, relaxed and doing more comfortable socializing. so it was a somewhat different persona. like anybody who has traveled with general petraeus and known him, i've seen paula broadwell over the last three or four years, when she was working on her dissertation about general petraeus . she interviewed many people who had worked with him and journalists who had covered him, and i was one of them, so i remember spending more than an hour talking to her. she was doing that work.
>> was she knowledgeable?
>> well, she was studio. she was a hard working person who wanted to master the details of petraeus ' life. she wasn't a supple intellect, and as some of my colleagues at "the washington post " wrote in a first-rate story we published yesterday, there was some surprise, i remember hearing, from people around general petraeus that somebody wasn't intellectually person of petraeus 's depth and breadth. petraeus had got a doctorate from princeton for doing really outstanding work. but paula broadwell was a more workman like person. so it was a little bit of a surprise. that anybody in the world of biography would wanted to write that book and how did she become to be the writer? people wondered that. people scratched their heads. she was also quite demanding. i remember that about her visits to kabul. the staff knew that they were really going to have to work hard. but that, i think, was, in her time, would only say she was a biographer, doesn't appears to have been any additional involvement there.
>> i want to play a little more of benghazi . senator feinstein just told me of some of her concerns. let's watch.
>> i believe that director petraeus made a trip of region, shortly before this became public. i believe that there is a trip report. we have asked to see the trip report. one person tells me he has read it. and then we tried to get it. and they tell me it hasn't been done. that's unacceptable. we are entitled to this trip report. and if we have to go to the floor of the senate on a subpoena, we will do just that.
>> she wants to know what he learned on this trip to benghazi , to libya, and she's told that there is a trip report of this and now she's told there isn't. another serious question coming out.
>> it's interesting, certainly, at the time last, right before the election, when the benghazi issue came to a head, it was known that general petraeus was traveling ing ing ing abroad, and indeed that he was in egypt. the trip report, i don't know what sort of paperwork they filed. the only thing that surprises me in senator feinstein's tone is, our cia directors don't work for congress. they work for the president. and if there was anybody who should be receiving information about the travels of the cia director , it's the president and the national security counsel . congress has an oversight role, which is important. and that oversight --
>> but the context was the benghazi investigation that they are holding the hearings on.
>> i understand that. it's just that there was a sort of -- i understand that, and given all the questions about benghazi , i'm glad that congress is looking at it. i'm just saying that over the last, you know, years, sometimes in statements by senior members of the intelligence committees, you get the feeling almost that they think the cia director and the intelligence community work for them, and they don't.
>> well, they have oversight. and i think --
>> they have oversight, but there's a difference.
>> but in this case, i think there is, what you can tell, when she was first questioned a couple of days ago, she was very, very supportive, but as things have unfolded, i think all of the people in leadership on the hill are very concerned about the timeline here. let me move on and ask you one more question about benghazi . because there's a lot of confusion about what paula broadwell said in a speech in denver, that the reason or one of the motives for the attack could have been that the cia was holding libyan prisoners, militia prisoners, in the cia annex, something the cia has now denied. is there any way to figure out what's going on there?
>> i haven't -- i have not heard that. and that's something worth reporting out, if it's been stated. what i do know is that the cia operation in benghazi was substantial in size, in part because of a mission that general petraeus had focused on personally, which was trying to collect the so-called man pads, the shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that are so dangerous, that gadhafi had bought in huge numbers. and other weapons that gadhafi had bought that the cia was trying to round up. so some of the personnel who were there were involved in that mission. and i think that expanded the size of the operation there, beyond what you would normally have in a second city, in a country like libya. there's so many, as you know, andrea, i just want to say, your reporting has led the way on this story, but as you know, there are so many conspiracy theories floating around about every aspect, touching on petraeus , benghazi , the lengths, the political overlay, and it's important for us, as journalists, to make sure we remind you viewers what we know and what we really don't know. and in this case, i can't tell you anything about prisoners. i can tell you, because i'm confident that i know, that there was an extensive operation to round up these weapons that have come loose.
>> thank you so much. well