AG Eric Holder: 'We Do Not Share...Facts of Ongoing Investigations'

By Susan Jones | November 16, 2012 | 7:46 AM EST

President Barack Obama and Eric Holder (AP Photo)

( - Why did the FBI and Justice Department wait four months to inform President Obama that his CIA director was having an extra-marital affair?

In his first public comments on the matter, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday the investigation into Petraeus' activities was conducted "in the way that we normally conduct criminal investigations, so they can be seen as being done in an impartial way."

Investigators "follow the facts," Holder said: "We do not share outside the Justice Department, outside the FBI, the facts of ongoing investigations. We made the determination as we were going through the matter that there was not a threat to national security.

"Had we made the determination that a threat to national security existed, we would, of course, have made that known to the president and also to the appropriate members on the Hill. But, as we went through the investigation, looked at the facts and tried to examine them as they developed, we were very -- we felt very secure in the knowledge that a national security threat did not exist that warranted the sharing of that information with the White House or with the Hill."

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The investigation reportedly began in June when Florida socialite Jill Kelley complained to the FBI about receiving threatening emails that turned out to be from Paula Broadwell. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the White House learned about the investigation on Wednesday, Nov. 7, the day after Obama was reelected to a second term as president.

Holder, a close personal friend of the president, on Thursday said a "critical interview" conducted "very late in the investigation" prompted the decision to tell the White House.

"But when we got to a point in the investigation -- it was very late in the investigation, after a very critical interview occurred on the Friday before we made that disclosure -- and got to that point where we thought it was appropriate to share the information, we did so."

The Washington Post, quoting law enforcement officials, said the "critical interview" was a Nov. 2 meeting with Paula Broadwell.