OTR Interviews

CIA Director Petraeus' resignation: Is it really just because of an extramarital affair?

What the CIA director's decision means and whether it could impact the Benghazi terror probe


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 9, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Heads are spinning in Washington, late today, CIA director David Petraeus abruptly resigning after admitting to an extramarital affair. And tonight, we now know the affair was with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. That's bad, but it gets even worse. The resignation comes just days before General Petraeus was set to testify at congressional hearings on Libya. Coincidence?

Congressman Trey Gowdy joins us. Good evening, sir.

REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C.: Good evening. How are you?

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm very well. Congressman, the affair -- I mean, for the most part, it's -- I mean, it's sort of -- I'm trying to separate this out. It really is a matter for General Petraeus and his wife.

But there is -- there are some parts of it that do have sort of an implication. One is whether or not it's a security breach and that it should have been picked up and turned over to the House intel committees and whether or not that could ever be used as blackmail against him. Your thought, sir.

GOWDY: Well, even someone as lowly as an assistant U.S. attorney has to undergo a background check, and you're asked a series of very invasive questions, and you're expected to tell the truth and they're under penalty of perjury. And you're asked those questions so you can't be blackmailed or extorted. So you can increase that by an exponential factor when you're talking about the head of the CIA.

So I would expect Mike Rogers would have liked to have known that information and he would have liked to have known it in a timely fashion. But I'll tell you this, Greta. The fact -- and I do lament the personal ramifications, but the fact that he's resigned and had an affair has nothing to do with whether or not he's going to be subpoenaed to Congress.

I hope we don't have to subpoena a four-star general and a former CIA director. I hope he would come voluntarily. But if he won't, he will be subpoenaed. And none of what has happened today is a defense to a subpoena.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, would you agree that there is no sort of security problem, or even a blackmail problem, if for instance, his wife knew about it and he had told the FBI or the CIA, whoever conducted it, so that he was not in any way sort of vulnerable to any sort of outside someone coming in trying to influence him? Would you agree to that?

GOWDY: It could be. I mean, that's a very fact-intensive inquiry. It may be that his wife knew, but his mother didn't. It may be that his wife knew but his kids didn't. And I suspect that with men like General Petraeus, where honor means something -- losing your life is secondary to losing your honor. So the fact that your wife knows something doesn't necessarily get you off the hook in terms of losing your honor.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, getting back to Benghazi. Is he an essential part of this inquiry? I mean, I've just read a timeline -- I do have trouble with the fact that his -- I mean, I don't know what happened between the time the CIA station chief in Libya said that it was essentially a terrorism group, a terrorist or a militant group, and the time he went to Capitol Hill. I don't know where in the world this video came up with.

But do you expect that he will testify and explain that?

GOWDY: He's going to have to. He's either a witness in our case in chief, or he's going to be a rebuttal witness after Susan Rice and others blame him for their failure of intelligence and failure of information.

So to put it back in a courtroom, he's either going to be one of our witnesses in our case in chief or we're going to wait until someone else invokes his name or blames him, and then he'll be a rebuttal witness.

But there's no way we can get to the bottom of Benghazi without David Petraeus. So while he may not be around next week because he's got personal matters, the week after that and the week after that and the week after that, this excuse will run stale.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the unanswered question tonight is what provoked the resignation, or what provoked -- I mean, was someone going public with it? Was -- you know, was there a problem? Or was it Benghazi and he didn't want to testify? I mean, we don't know tonight what sort of provoked the confession which then resulted in the resignation. It's, like, that's -- that's sort of -- that's also a missing piece of information tonight.

GOWDY: Well, the questions are a lot better than the answers, at this point. But as your previous guests were talking, I thought about a book by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, "Crime and Punishment." Sometimes it's just guilt. There's no other explanation bigger than guilt.

I don't know David Petraeus. I sat beside him at a dinner one time, but I hardly -- I hardly know him. I don't know what the motivation was. I do know this. We'll find it out. Benghazi's not going anywhere, despite the fact that most of the members of the so-called mainstream media have ignored it so far. In a perverse way, the fact that we now have a salacious component to it is going to mean that they're guaranteed to cover it. So we're going to find out what happened to those four murdered Americans one way or another.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think that, at least most of the people I talk to would really like to know, and it's gotten, you know, more bizarre as the days have marched on, with the different stories, incomplete information, and all the information will be probably greatly appreciated. Congressman, thank you, sir.

GOWDY: Thank you, ma'am.