Benghazi machinations continue: CIA announces investigation of Petraeus on eve of his testimony to Congress

There have been far too many coincidences in the Benghazi and Petraeus affairs for them to have all been coincidental.

The latest move in what appears to be a high-stakes game of poker took place Thursday, November 15, as it was announced that the CIA would launch its own investigation into David Petraeus. Following the FBI officials’ communications to David Petraeus and to Paula Broadwell at the end of October that there was no national security issue and that no further investigation was anticipated, the announcement is nothing short of incredible.


Elspeth Reeve, “Now the CIA Is Investigating Petraeus,” The Atlantic Wire, November 15, 2012.

Kimberly Dozier, “CIA to investigate conduct of ex-chief Petraeus,” The Miami Herald, November 16, 2012.

David Petraeus is scheduled to testify to Congress on Friday regarding the attacks on the U.S. consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi on September 11-12, and the responses of U.S. officials and forces.

Could it be that the CIA investigation, which at this point appears to have no basis other than a desire to go on a fishing trip, is intended to intimidate Petraeus and make him think twice before he is too candid in his responses to questions on the Hill?

Also, following the FBI agents’ initial conclusions at the end of October that there was no national security issue and that no further investigation was anticipated, why did they sweep down on Paula Broadwell’s house (with her permission) on Monday, November 12, to haul away cartons of computer and other information. This also has the appearance of a fishing expedition, ordered by higher officials with the principal purpose of finding something with which they might cover their posteriors.

The CIA investigation of Petraeus is a most serious matter, which Diane Feinstein and other congressional overseers should investigate with great urgency. Who ordered the investigation? On the basis of what concrete information indicating a probability of wrongdoing was it ordered? How dare they besmirch this man’s public honor any further! Have they no shame?

The launching of the CIA investigation of Petraeus, at this precise moment, comes perilously close to the appearance of an attempt to obstruct the oversight role of Congress. If there were grounds for an investigation, surely its announcement could have awaited the conclusion of his testimony on Friday.

As for David Petraeus, who appears to have been forced out of office by persons yet unnamed (except for James Clapper), it is to be hoped that he will follow his West Point Code of Honor and tell the truth, and the whole truth, to those in Congress who want to get to the bottom of the Benghazi affair.

His place in history is secure. Petraeus is a genuine war hero. Those who are attempting to rewrite history by downplaying his contribution in Iraq are seriously off the mark. He made an enormous contribution, together with Ambassador Ryan Crocker, in turning around the desperate situation the U.S. faced in that country when he took over as military commander. Nothing can erase that.

His testimony on Friday represents an early opportunity to reassert his honor.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.