We’ve learned again one important thing in the last few days: The government cannot keep a secret.
As further details filter in, it appears increasingly likely that the revelation of David Petraeus’ affair and his forced resignation on November 9 is more complicated, and involves more intrigue, than first appears. As we observed yesterday,
“Whether there is anything more to the coincidence of timing than meets the eye remains to be seen.
With the CIA and the Obama administration, however, it is always prudent to look beyond what meets the eye.”
–The Trenchant Observer, “On eve of testimony to Congress on Benghazi, CIA Director David Petraeus forced out over an affair,” November 9, 2012 (updated November 10, 2012).
First of all we must ask why the White House and the CIA could not keep Petraeus’ affair secret and out of the public media, if only to spare his wife, Holly Petraeus, from the public shame of seeing her husband taken down for his affair–which was over and several months behind him. If he wanted to resign, why couldn’t Petraeus just be allowed to resign quietly, thereby sparing his wife and son and daughter public humiliation?
Who is the second woman, who reportedly went to the FBI because she was receiving threatening e-mails from Paula Broadwell?
Among the interesting details to emerge most recently are the following:
According to Eric Leser, writing today for the French site of Slate.com, the FBI reached the conclusion that there was no security issue.
“The FBI agents contacted Petraeus at the end of October or in early November, and told him that there would be no further pursuit of the matter. David Petraeus as well as Paula Broadwell have not committed any crime and have not violated any law.”
–Eric Leser, “L’affaire Petraeus et les zones d’ombre de l’administration Obama; Grâce à la démission inattendue du directeur de la CIA, la Maison Blanche pourra-t-elle éviter de répondre à des questions embarrassantes?” Slate.fr, November 11, 2012.
What is going on here? Why did this matter have to become public when it did?
There are a number of leads that need to be followed up. One is the question of who prepared the talking points for U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice who appeared on the Sunday talk shows after the attack, and maintained–contrary to what the administration knew to be the case–that the attack on the Consulate evolved out of a demonstration against the anti-Muslim film, ” The Innocence of Muslims”.
Rice was a leading candidate to become Secretary of State following Hillary Clinton’s expected resignation.
Another involves the question of whether Obama was afraid of what Petraeus might say in his scheduled testimony to Congress next week.
Could it be that Petraeus was unwilling to lie in Congressional testimony, unwilling to deny that Obama made the final call or whether or not to immediately send in support from the CIA annex to the Benghazi consulate when it was under attack, or to deploy other military assets from Signorella Air Base in Italy, and elsewhere? We know that the administration had a drone over Benghazi and was able to watch the attack in real time.
Of particular importance in assessing this possibility is the fact that the AfricaCom commander, General Carter Ham, it was suddenly announced following the attack on Benghazi, is to be replaced. This came well short of the completion of his rotation, for no apparent reason. Some reports allege that he disobeyed an order to stand down when mobilizing his troops to go the aid of those under attack in Benghazi. He also would be an interesting witness for Congress to call.
One thing appears evident. Obama and foreign policy leaders at the top are involved in some kind of intrigue, either as active agents or as victims.
Among those whose names have been suggested as a possible replacement for Petraeus at CIA are John Brennan, Obama’s close confidante in the drone wars and reportedly his first choice to be Director of the CIA. His name was not submitted to Congress because of anticipated problems in the confirmation hearings, given his position in the CIA during the active phase of Bush’s torture program.
The Trenchant Observer