The stunning news came just 14 months after Petraeus was sworn in as CIA director, his wife, Holly, at his side.
Today, Petraeus announced his resignation in a statement to the agency’s employees, saying:
“After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours.”
The retired four-star general said he went to the White House yesterday, met with President Obama, and asked to resign for personal reasons.
The president made no mention of the matter at his own White House event today, and Press Secretary Jay Carney declined to comment.
What follows is a nauseating litany of the most egregious back-stabbing ever performed with sugary praises I’ve ever heard on a television channel. If you have a weak stomach, I’ll spare you David Brooks’ and Mark Shields’ version of sucking up to power – the source that slit Petraeus’ throat, not Petraeus – and just give it to you straight.
Step 1: Put media-loving Petraeus in a job where he can’t talk (much). Step 2: Absolutely crush him in 1st available controversy. Slick.
To be fair, rules are rules.
According to the Associated Press, Petraeus’ partner in the affair was his biographer and confidant Paula Broadwell, who travelled with Petraeus extensively while he was the top commander in Afghanistan. The former aide, however, insists that the affair began after Petraeus retired from the military — and while he was director of the CIA.
Whenever the affair began, America’s most famous general in a generation and its leading spy is now leaving Washington in disgrace.
Petraeus’ CIA tenure first appeared to be in jeopardy last week, when the Wall Street Journal published an article alleging that Petraeus has been, in effect, asleep at the switch during the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
But Petraeus’ former aide insists that wasn’t the reason for his departure. “This had nothing to do with Benghazi or relationship with the White House — which by the way was excellent — or anything else for that matter,” the aide tells Danger Room. “Just his flawed behavior.”
Doug Ollivant, a retired Army officer who worked closely with Petraeus as the National Security Council’s director for Iraq policy under both the Bush and Obama administrations, says Petraeus’ legacy within the Army was “fixed” when Petraeus shed his uniform to helm the CIA.
“I’m kind of appalled to live in a country where you have to resign over an affair that has little to no effect on your job, although I recognize the blackmail implications,” Ollivant tells Danger Room, cautioning that if Petraeus was “sleeping with someone the director of the Agency shouldn’t be, then that’s something different.”
Just this week, Broadwell solicited from Petraeus five “Rules for Living” for Newsweek. His first lesson: “Lead by example.” His fifth: “We all will make mistakes. The key is to recognize them and admit them, to learn from them, and to take off the rear view mirrors—drive on and avoid making them again.”
Anonymous law enforcement officials tell NBC News that Broadwell is “under FBI investigation for improperly trying to access his email and possibly gaining access to classified information.” Other officials are telling the Associated Press that an FBI investigation led to the discovery of Petraeus’ affair.
Understandably, I’m biased. With a father who was in the NSA, who was a serial philanderer, and who routinely mocked his clearance by bragging about the details of his humdrum shift work to any woman naive enough to listen, an extra-marital affair seems like jaywalking. What else can eavesdroppers do but fuck and drink alcohol – the only safe activities that involve noise?
Obviously, the “change” part of the Obama administration’s next four years won’t happen at Foggy Bottom. But, I’m sure the assassins are “hopeful”.