Gen. David Petraeus collapsed in his chair under intense questioning from the leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday.
Petraeus, the commander of U.S. Central Command, was immediately surrounded by advisors including Michele Flournoy, the Pentagon’s deputy under secretary for policy, who was testifying with him. Petraeus is known for his superior fitness level; he was escorted out of the hearing room, pale and looking downward.
Several minutes later, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) returned to the room to say that Petraeus was feeling much better and probably just didn’t drink enough water before coming to the hearing. Levin said there would soon be a decision about whether the hearing would continue.
Petraeus’s collapse came just as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was wrapping up a pointed round of questions about his support for the president’s plan to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July 2011.
“It wasn’t Senator McCain’s questions, I assure you,” Petraeus quipped when he returned to the hearing room. Though Petraeus said he was fine and seemed intent on continuing his testimony, Levin has postponed the hearing until tomorrow.