Obama on Petraeus: "People are innocent until proven guilty"


The first question at President Obama's press conference today was about the investigation of General David Petraeus, who just resigned the directorship of the CIA following allegations that he conducted an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, and that Broadwell possessed classified information about the CIA's work in Libya.

"Should you and the American people have been told that the CIA chief was under investigation before the election?" a reporter asked Obama of the FBI investigation into Petraeus and Broadwell that began months ago.

"I think you're going to have to talk to the FBI about what their protocols are," Obama responded. "One of the challenges here is that we're not supposed to meddle in criminal investigations. That's been our practice. People are innocent until proven guilty. We don't want to prejudge these situations."

Followers of the Wikileaks/Bradley Manning investigation know that hasn't always been the practice. When Obama was asked in 2011 about Manning, who had been arrested, but not tried for violating the Espionage Act, Obama said,

If I was to release stuff, information that I'm not authorized to release, I'm breaking the law…We're a nation of laws. We don't individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate…

He broke the law.

Another reporter asked Obama if he's withholding judgement about the investigation, or about the fact that he was not told until about the investigation until after the election.

"I am withholding judgement about the entire process around General Petraeus…I am going to wait and see. It's also possible that had we been told, you'd be sitting here asking why we interfered in a criminal investigation."