The e-mails from Broadwell indicated that she thought the other woman was becoming involved with Petraeus, according to the officials. They said the e-mails were “threatening and harassing” but not specific enough to warrant criminal charges.
One of the officials said that the recipient of the e-mails complained to Petraeus about them and that the FBI later obtained e-mails between Petraeus and Broadwell in which they discussed the harassment.
The investigators first interviewed Petraeus about two weeks ago, the officials said. They reviewed the evidence with him but did not suggest that he should resign or that he would be charged with a crime, according to the officials.
One of the officials said Justice Department officials were unclear on what steps to take after they concluded that there would be no charges against the CIA director or Broadwell and that there had been no breach of national security.
“What was our responsibility?” said one of the officials. “We were in an area where we’d never been before.”
The notification finally came Tuesday evening, while polls were still open across the country in an election that would return President Obama to office for four more years.
“Director Clapper learned of the situation from the FBI on Tuesday evening around 5 p.m.,” a senior U.S. intelligence official said. “In subsequent conversations with Director Petraeus, Director Clapper advised Director Petraeus to resign.”
The official declined to say whether Petraeus had considered resigning at that point, but he said it was quickly clear to Clapper that stepping down was “the right thing to do.”
The official said that Clapper has been fully briefed on the FBI investigation and has not called for his office or the CIA to conduct a follow-up probe or damage assessment — indicating that Clapper does not see the case as a security threat.
“There are no investigations beyond” that initiated by the FBI, the intelligence official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The official would not address why the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and others were not notified earlier of the FBI investigation and its link to Petraeus.
The emerging details suggest that Petraeus was not involved in the decision to notify the White House that he had been ensnared in an FBI probe.