Petraeus Speaks: I Didn’t Quit Over Benghazi; Broadwell Knows Nothing

Gen. Petraeus — finally speaking out, albeit through a reporter who sounds more like a PR agent — says the debacle in Benghazi had nothing to do with his resignation from the CIA and he never divulged classified information to his mistress Paula Broadwell.

The general broke his media silence in a series of conversations with HLN TV reporter Kyra Phillips — which she in turn relayed in a broadcast interview with a colleague this morning.

So this is all hearsay — from a reporter who sounds like she hero-worships Petraeus as much as Broadwell did. But it’s the closest we’ll get to hearing from the general ahead of his scheduled testimony before the House and Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday.

Despite speculation that Petraeus quit over clashes with the Obama administration involving disparate versions of the timeline of events in Benghazi, Phillips insists the resignation was solely about the affair:

He has said this has nothing to do with Benghazi and he wants to testify. He will testify. He has maintained to me all along this was a personal failing, Robin, which, as I said, to me was quite stunning and to many other people. He’s not the type of person that I’ve ever known to fail at anything, knowing [him] as long as I have over the years. And so he has made it very clear that this was about an extramarital affair and not over classified information or Benghazi.

Meanwhile, despite reports of classified docs found at Broadwell’s home and speculation she divulged Benghazi-related CIA secrets in a Denver speech, Petraeus told Philips he never spilled classified info to his lust buddy:

…he has insisted to me that he has never passed classified information to Paula Broadwell. As long as I have known him, he has never wavered on classified information, ever. And to the best of my knowledge, you know, that has always been sacrosanct. I have also never known him to tell me something that is not true …

Philips says she’s shocked the honorable general would cheat on his wife and not-so-subtly painted Broadwell as the likely instigator of the affair:

I do know that people within his inner circle [have] described her to be an aggressive woman, someone who works her magic.

Read the full transcript here.