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Petraeus scandal: Where will investigations take Congress?

As House and Senate intelligence leaders prepare to query top FBI and CIA officials on the Petraeus scandal, questions abound: Why did Obama not know sooner? Did the affair impact Libya? Was there a security breach? 

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In this 2010 photo, Natalie Khawam, left, Gen. David Petraeus, Scott and Jill Kelley, and Holly Petraeus watch the Gasparilla parade from the Kelley's front lawn in Tampa, Fla.

Amu Scherzer/The Tampa Bay Times/AP

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Conspiracy theorists are offering all kinds of dark and convoluted guesses for why President Obama was not informed of the extramarital affair that brought down former CIA director David Petraeus until two days after the Nov. 6 elections.

But in the end the explanation may lead back to Watergate, and steps taken after the 1970s scandal to build a protective wall between the Justice Department criminal investigations and the White House.

Congress is likely to be reminded of that wall as it probes the national security ramifications of the Petraeus scandal with a series of closed-door hearings this week.

On Thursday, the Senate and House intelligence committees will meet with the acting CIA director, Michael Morell, and the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, to try to clarify any link between General Petraeus’s actions and the CIA response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

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