US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA has insisted that the sex scandal surrounding the former head of the CIA, and the top American military commander in Afghanistan, has not resulted in any threat to the US’s national security.
Speaking in his first press conference since winning a second term last week, Obama said he had “no evidence at this point from what I’ve seen that classified information was disclosed that in any way would have had a negative impact on our national security”.
The president declined to make much further comment on the scandal, as he did not want to compromise the ongoing investigation into the sex scandal, but emphasised that General David Petraeus – who resigned as the head of the CIA last week – had “served this country with great distinction in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and as head of the CIA”.
“From my perspective at least, he has provided this country an extraordinary service,” Obama said. “We are safer because of the work that Dave Petraeus has done.”
Petraeus resigned after admitting an extramarital affair, thought to have been with his biographer Paula Broadwell, which emerged when another woman, socialite Jill Kelley – who is also suspected of having illicit relations with Petraeus – reported been cyberstalked.
It then emerged that Kelley had exchanged thousands of emails with General John Allen, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan and therefore the commander of the International Security Assistance Force which is assisting in training the Afghan security forces after the fall of the Taliban.
Petraeus had held the same role before his appointment as Director of the CIA.
Allen had been due to take up appointment as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe early next year, but that appointment – which requires confirmation by the US Senate – has now been put on hold.