He didn’t take the bait.
You knew that President Obama, at his first press conference since the David Petraeus sex story broke (and since the election, if you forgot that event), was going to be asked about the mutating investigation/affair/scandal involving David Petraeus, the FBI, the CIA, the Pentagon, Gen. John Allen, a biographer and a pair of Florida socialites/social climbers.
His answers boiled down to this: Gen. Petraeus is a good man who made a bad decision. And I assume that everyone is following protocol in investigating the facts of the affair. (Or is it affairs?)
Reporters wanted to know “what did the president know and why didn’t he know it.”
Obama wasn’t biting.
The president said he has seen “no evidence” that any classified information was compromised that had a “negative impact on our national security,” Obama said, choosing every word carefully.
He said the FBI “has its own protocols” and seemed to imply that he knows of no evidence that the protocols were not followed.
“I am withholding judgment,” he said. “We don’t have all the information yet.”
He tried to turn the tables on his questioners, saying that reporters would have asked him “why were you interfering in a criminal investigation” if he had been notified of the Petraeus probe.
“We’re not supposed to meddle in a criminal investigation,” he argued.
Obama repeatedly shifted the focus to Petraeus’ contributions to American national security, from Iraq to Afghanistan to the CIA.
“General Petraeus had an extraordinary career,” he said. “We are safer because of the work that David Petraeus has done.”
Obama said he hopes that the affair that ended his CIA tenure would be “a single side note” in an “extraordinary career.”