The Petraeus Debacle

Posted on Wed 11/14/2012 by


By Alan Caruba ~

In March 2012, as part of my monthly report on new books,, I recommended “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus”, noting that Paula Broadwell “had considerable access to the man who now is director of the CIA and who had an illustrious military career.” Neither I, nor anyone else realized how much “access” she had. It turns out, as well, that much of the book was ghost-written by Vernon Loeb, who received credit on the cover. Even he was caught unaware.

As the story continues to unfold in the wake of Petraeus’ resignation as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, just a day after the reelection of President Obama, the stench of moral and political corruption continues to rise from everything that led to his resignation.

First there was the general’s affair with the married biographer, Ms. Broadwell. It is not uncommon for men to betray their marriage vows, but we expect men granted power and prestigious positions to maintain a higher degree of morality. As often as not ambitious men do not and one need only consult the Bible for the story of David as evidence of that. Even those around Petraeus may have had their suspicions, but they understandably said nothing. He was, after all, a four-star general and a hero of the Iraq war, the creator of a counter-insurgency program that rescued the U.S. from defeat after the “surge” approved by former President Bush.

What is, to my mind, most disturbing of the facts we have since learned, was that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had stumbled on the affair months prior to the election and the resignation. The key question becomes whether Petraeus’ testimony to a Congressional intelligence committee was influenced by the fact that his indiscretion was known to persons high in the Obama administration?

Was Petraeus under pressure to validate the false cover story that the Benghazi attack was the result of a “flash mob” and triggered by a video no one had seen? That was, in essence, what the general told the committee. It was the same story put forth by the administration’s UN ambassador, Susan Rice, as well as the President.

Scheduled to testify under oath, Petraeus rendered his resignation and one can only think that he did so in order not to perjure himself. The question remains whether he will be subpoenaed to testify.

The Nov 13th Washington Post reported that “some of his closest advisers who served with him during his last command in Iraq said Monday that Petraeus planned to stay in the job even after he acknowledged the affair to the FBI, hoping the episode would never become public. He resigned last week after being told to do so by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. on the day President Obama was reelected.”

Another key question is why the FBI was authorized to pursue the investigation that arose out of a complaint of email harassment by Broadwell of someone unrelated to the Benghazi event, but known to Petraeus. Why would the FBI investigate such a seemingly minor offence? And, knowing well in advance that Petraeus had engaged in an affair with Ms. Broadwell following his CIA appointment, how high up the chain of command did that knowledge go? Did, for example, the Attorney General give his blessing to the investigation? Did he inform White House intelligence officials? Did they, in turn, inform the President?

None of this is trivial. I can well remember the long months it took before the Watergate scandal of the 1970s eventually forced the resignation of Richard Nixon in the face of an impending impeachment.

President Clinton survived an impeachment effort in the wake of his sexual dalliance with a White House intern. He has long since been forgiven for it by many, if not most, Americans, despite the fact that he deliberately and knowingly lied to them at the time.

What did President Obama know? In hindsight, why did he offer the CIA position to Petraeus whose entire background was in military affairs, a consumer of intelligence, but not a producer of it? No doubt his leadership record qualified him to run a huge bureaucracy, but this one is as much a keeper of secrets as one that uncovers them. The agency has received a serious blow to its integrity.

On, Doug Hagmann recently wrote, “The alleged trysts of powerbrokers are a component to the story of Benghazi, but they are not the story. They provide convenient cover for emerging revelations. Like arrows in a quiver of those in positions of power, they exist as leverage to be used to neutralize existing or potential threats at the precise moment they are needed, without the untidiness and inconvenient inquiries that tend to accompany dead bodies. They are also powerful weapons that control the perception of a voyeuristic public, which is dutifully fed the salacious details by a complicit media.”

So, as the public’s attention is diverted to the Petraeus scandal, one is left to wonder if the full story of Benghazi and what now appears to be a major Obama administration failure to respond to the growing threat to our ambassador and his staff in Libya will fully emerge; misjudgments that cost him and three others their lives and was followed by weeks of outright deception by the President and those who answer to him.

In the wake of an election where it is increasingly clear that massive voter fraud contributed to the reelection of President Obama and possibly congressional candidates, one wonders whether there is sufficient voter outrage to have the fraud investigated. It has been reported that 59 districts in Philadelphia did not record one vote for Mitt Romney!

The stench of political corruption hung over the first term of the President in scandals such as the government gun-running scheme to Mexican cartels, “Fast and Furious” that cost a border patrol office his life. There was the long succession of the failures of green energy companies that cost taxpayers billions. There was the slush fund called a “stimulus” that achieved few jobs and no recovery from the recession Obama “inherited.”

Those who voted for a change are now thoroughly dispirited and depressed. Those who voted for Obama expect an extension of unemployment benefits, the food stamp program, and other government handouts. There is, however, a limit on how long such programs can be sustained. As the former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, once said, “Sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.” As the nation continues to hemorrhage lost jobs, that won’t take long.

Is it too much to hope that General Petraeus will testify and tell the truth about what the CIA knew about the Benghazi attack on September 11, 2011, the anniversary of 9/11?

If he does not, a distinguished career of service to America will be ruined by the worst mistake of his life.

© Alan Caruba, 2012   Alan Caruba blogs daily at Warning Signs .

An author, business and science writer, he is the founder of National Anxiety Center .