Transcript: Press conference Q&A with Nancy Pelosi on Gen. David Petraeus’s resignation
Transcript of press conference Q&A with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on Gen. David Petraeus’s resignation on Nov. 13, 2012:
Question: Madam Leader, I just wanted to get your take on the scandal involving General Petraeus. Obviously, he resigned and also General Allen has now kind of been brought into this scandal. What’s your take on this scandal?
Pelosi: Well, I think there’s some answers that we have to have about notification to Congress. I don’t have any reason to think that there are any national security issues at stake in what has transpired. I think some dishonorable things were done and the honorable thing has to be to resign and not to go forward.
Question: Do you think that they should have reported it to Congress earlier?
Pelosi: Well, I don’t know – see, that’s why I say we have to find out who knew what, when, and why would Congress not have known. But again, again, if it doesn’t involve national security, the notification requirement doesn’t trigger. If it involves poor behavior, yeah it would have been nice to know before we saw it on TV.
Question: Madam Leader, I know that you’ve met with the Acting Director of Central Intelligence a bit ago here. I know, obviously those conversations are proprietary, did you express to him though what your concern was about these notifications? And to the degree that you can, did he reveal anything about where we stand with this? I guess what I am striving for here is, obviously you want to have some answers, but you also want to put them on notice that you have a problem with notification.
Pelosi: Well, I have notification if it involved national security. But, as you know, the Acting Director is talking to the leaders about what has transpired and how we will go forward. But I think that it’s really important to note that this was a personal indiscretion as far as we know. Why somebody would be personally indiscreet is their own problem. Why they would do it in emails is beyond my imagination. But in any event, the honorable thing was done, the General has resigned. There are questions about timing, just as a tradition, to notify Congress before we see it on TV. If it involves national security though, that’s a different story. So far we do not believe that it involves national security.
Question: So, did he, so did you ask him that? Today, again, I realize the conversation…
Pelosi: Well, you realize it was private but you want to know what I asked him?
Question: Well, you don’t have to tell me exactly what he said.
Pelosi: Well, I have always been a great protector of the prerogatives of Congress. And as you know, one of my fights with the Administration, for which I have taken many hits by all Administrations, is that the Administration always believes that they own intelligence information, we in Congress believe they are the custodians but that we have equal access to that information. So, you can count on me to protect the congressional prerogative when it comes to our national security.
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