Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Petraeus Scandal: An affair that was known to the FBI for months and kept from congressional oversight committees might explain his complicity in a false narrative of the Benghazi terrorist attack and the order to "stand down."
The addition of sex to Benghazigate adds a dimension sure to keep the scandal going and one that does indeed make Watergate seem like a third-rate burglary. The affair admitted to by Gen. David Petraeus, now our former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, might have attached blackmail or the potential for blackmail to a scandal we have already called a case of criminal negligence.
But blackmail by whom?
Petraeus isn't the first general to have an affair while in uniform. But as CIA director, Petraeus' knowledge of the nation's secrets was unparalleled, as was his knowledge of what happened and when regarding the assault on our consulate in Libya.
The timing of his resignation is most curious — just days after the presidential election and days before he was scheduled to testify before Congress, under oath, regarding the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell is expected to testify in his place. But lawmakers want to hear from Petraeus, and so do we.
As we've noted, just two days after the attack on our Benghazi consulate, representatives of the FBI and National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) gave Capitol Hill briefings in which they said the evidence supported an al-Qaida or al-Qaida-affiliated attack.
The FBI and NCTC also briefed that there were several al-Qaida training camps just outside Benghazi. The area was described as a hotbed for the militant Ansar al-Sharia as well as al-Qaida in North Africa.
So why, as we asked then, did Petraeus, whom we said "has to have known otherwise," tell lawmakers the opposite a day after — that the attack was more consistent with a flash mob, where militants showed up spontaneously with rocket-propelled grenades? Petraeus downplayed to lawmakers the skill needed to fire mortars, as if it were something every spontaneous demonstrator knows how to do. Why?
The FBI knew, as early as May, of the harassing emails sent by Petraeus' paramour Paula Broadwell to social planner Jill Kelley, event coordinator at MacDill Air Force Base, where Central Command, which Petraeus headed, is based. The probe commenced at that point and led to full knowledge of the affair by late summer.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder knew about the email links to Petraeus at that time, it's been reported. Maybe he didn't read the memos just as he claimed not to read the memos about Fast and Furious.
"We received no advanced notice. It was like a lightning bolt," Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on "Fox News Sunday." She said her committee will demand an explanation as to why it wasn't told the CIA director was being investigated for an affair that subjected him to potential blackmail. We'd like to hear it.
If Petraeus carried on the affair while serving in the Army, he could still face charges, according to Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which reprimands conduct "of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces." Was that being held over his head by his own government to force his compliance with a false Benghazi narrative? What was the reason for secrecy until after the election?
Only Petraeus can tell us and end the speculation and the secrecy about both the affair and the Benghazi terrorist attack. He should be subpoenaed if necessary and the truth should be demanded.