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Rachel Maddow Warns Lawmakers, Viewers To Lay Off Petraeus Affair Details (VIDEO)

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Rachel Maddow signed off her Tuesday MSNBC show by discussing the FBI and its handling of the the Gen. David Petraeus scandal. She recalled the legacy of former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

Maddow described how Hoover used to keep personal, confidential files on various powerful men and women describing activities that were not criminal, but politically damaging or embarrassing if made available for public consumption.

"He kept those secret files because the secrets they contained gave him power. And as such, they were not suited to any law enforcement purpose. They were suited to his own needs. And that is called abuse of power," Maddow said.

Maddow warned members of Congress who protested that they should have been notified about Petraeus' affair by the FBI far sooner than they were.

"Lawmakers are sure to demand answers for why they were not told what the FBI knew as soon as the FBI knew it," Maddow said, predicting that the topic will come up during the hearings on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. "Those attacks are one thing," Maddow said of Benghazi, "but the story about Petraeus, is quite another thing. One is a matter of national and international importance, the other appears to be the unfortunate end of a decorated military leader."

Maddow said the FBI was "mindful of the legacy" of Hoover, and kept what she called the embarrassing details of Petraeus' private life separate from the question of whether he broke the law.

"From senators, to members of Congress, to little old me and to probably you, we would all like to know more about the Gen. Petraeus scandal in the most prurient possible sense. I wager that not many of us, not even those hopping mad lawmakers, though, would want to go back to the days of J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI uncovering personal peccadillos and then using them for its political gain," she said.

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