The evidence that Gen. David Petraeus, formerly the commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the author of the current Army field manual, Princeton Ph.D. and, until last week, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, was forced to resign from the CIA to silence him is far stronger than is the version of events that the Obama administration has given us.
The government would have us believe that because the FBI confronted Petraeus with his emails showing a pattern of inappropriate personal private behavior, he voluntarily departed his job as the country’s chief spy to avoid embarrassment. The government would also have us believe that the existence of the general’s relationship with Paula Broadwell, an unknown military scholar who wrote a book about him last year, was recently and inadvertently discovered by the FBI while it was conducting an investigation into an alleged threat made by Broadwell to another woman. And the government would as well have us believe that the president learned of all this at 5 p.m. on Election Day.
We now know that the existence of a personal relationship between Broadwell and Petraeus had been suspected and whispered about by his senior-level colleagues and by his personal staff in the military, who worried that it might become publicly known, since before the time that he came to run the CIA.
We also know that when he was nominated to run the CIA, that nomination was preceded by a two-month FBI-conducted background check that likely would have revealed the existence of his relationship with Broadwell. The FBI agents conducting that background check surely would have seen his visitor logs while he commanded our troops and would have interviewed his military colleagues and regular visitors and those colleagues who knew him well and worked with him every day, and thus learned about his personal life. That’s their job.
And that information would have been reported immediately to President Obama and to the Senate Intelligence Committee, prior to Petraeus’ formal nomination and prior to his Senate confirmation hearing.
In the modern era, office-holders with forgiving spouses simply do not resign from powerful jobs because of a temporary, non-criminal, consensual adult sexual liaison, as the history of the FDR, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, and Clinton presidencies attest. So, why is Petraeus different? Someone wants to silence him.
Petraeus told the Senate and House Intelligence Committees on September 14, 2012, that the mob attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, three days earlier, was a spontaneous reaction of Libyans angered over a YouTube clip some believed insulted the prophet Muhammad. He even referred to that assault—which resulted in the murders of four Americans, now all thought to have been CIA agents—as a “flash mob.” His scheduled secret testimony this week before the same congressional committees will produce a chastened, diminished Petraeus who will be confronted with a mountain of evidence contradicting his September testimony, perhaps exposing him to charges of perjury or lying to Congress and causing substantial embarrassment to the president.