The Fall of David Petraeus



David PetraeusThe news that General David Petraeus (Ret.) was resigning as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency came as a surprise last Friday.  First it is disappointing when someone of Petraeus’ stature and position makes such a poor decision.  I want to also be careful not to diminish the great good he accomplished in his storied career with the Army.  Secondly, it is heartbreaking to think of the pain and shame his wife and family must be going through not only because of the affair he had with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, but now has been magnified because of the public scrutiny.  We should pray for his family and pray that, if possible, restoration will take place.

In resigning General Patraeus did the honorable thing.  However the timing on Friday seemed incredibly suspicious  to me since he was scheduled to testify in a Congressional hearing on the Benghazi attack.  That suspicion was made worse by revelations that the FBI and the Justice Department knew of his affair this summer.  This leads to some uncomfortable questions.

  1. If the Justice Department knew this Summer, why is it members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees just found out when the rest of us did?
  2. Why did General Petraeaus wait until November to resign?  An extramarital affair for such a high-level intelligence official is a national security risk so why allow him to stay on for so long?
  3. General Petraeus also initially blamed the anti-Muslim film for the Benghazi attack.  He clearly knew better than that.  Was pressure applied on him because of knowledge about this affair?
  4.  Why did the Obama administration allow the election trump this coming to light?

The window of this coming out two days after the election and right before he’s scheduled to testify is fishy.  I would hope that General Petraeus would volunteer to keep his appointment with Congress, if not I hope that he is subpoenaed.  We need to know what he knew about Benghazi.

Update (11/14): It is being reported that Petraeus will testify before Congress voluntarily.

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Comments

  1. says

    Doubtful that the resignation had anything to do with honor. Probably just a cowardly and pragmatic decision made to evade questioning about his moral failings. Hopefully congress is preparing the subpoena as I write.

      • Argon says

        Shane, he can’t avoid testifying if subpoenaed. Resignation does not absolve him of the responsibility to testify.Weird that some Republicans in Congress knew about the issues before the election…

        And the likely reason why the FBI didn’t inform Congress was that Petreaus’ actions weren’t judged to be crimes and no breach of security trailed back to him. The FBI has been given rather strong directives to keep investigations private after a sorry history of previous Congress-critters and administrations using the FBI to dig up sordid details for political leverage. Basically these walls went up after decades of abuses were publicly revealed in the post-Hoover and post-Nixon eras.

        I agree with Bob about the resignation having little to do with honor. The honorable thing would have been never to have strayed. Or failing that, resigning immediately after he began the affair. The one silver lining from all this is that the armed forces culture of their higher echalons is getting needed scrutiny after a decade of cover up by military hagiographers.

  2. John B. Hefmier says

    “In resigning General Patraeus did the honorable thing. However the timing on Friday seemed incredibly suspicious to me since he was scheduled to testify in a Congressional hearing on the Benghazi attack.”
    I know of plenty people who have the same suspicion.

  3. tony4515 says

    There is NOTHING this administration would not do to cover up for Pres. Obama. Do anything, say anything, ruin anyones life to protect this President!

    • says

      Truth from Mother Jones? That would be a first.

      “Is this part of an Obama administration conspiracy to cover up what happened in Benghazi? Probably not,”

      Yeah that sounds like firm proof to me. Look the fact that Petraeus had an affair obviously isn’t the fault of the Obama administration. If the FBI didn’t give them a heads up that they were investigating the head of the CIA that’s a problem, but that lies with the Justice Department. The timing of this stinks. Petraeus should testify period. Private citizens have been called before Congress to testify so Petraeus should as well.