General Petraeus affair raises deep personal and public questions
CIA Director David Petraeus has resigned over an extra-marital affair, reportedly with his biographer. How did the FBI learn that his personal e-mail account had been hacked? What happens to the spy agency now, under fire for its handling of the terrorist attack at Benghazi?
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Until it was taken down Friday night, her website described Broadwell as a research associate at Harvard University's Center for Public Leadership and a doctoral candidate in the Department of War Studies at King's College London.Skip to next paragraph
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With Petraeus’s full cooperation, Broadwell began her doctoral dissertation on his leadership, which evolved into a glowing biography published last year. She is reported to be married to a radiologist in North Carolina with whom she has two young children.
Meanwhile, speculation about the relationship and Broadwell’s connection to Petraeus’s personal e-mail account (not his official CIA e-mail) continues to swirl.
ABC’s Martha Raddatz tweeted this: “Official tells me sevrl people who knew Petraeus got anonymous harassing emails. So investigation started. Emails then traced to Broadwell.”
In any case, once the affair became known to federal agencies and then to the White House, there was little question that it presented a massive breach of trust with the potential for national security implications.
“Any derogatory information that would lead you to be subject to blackmail by a foreign intelligence service would be potentially a basis for revoking your security clearance or not granting one to begin with,” John Pike of GlobalSecurity.org told the Boston Globe. “You are required to disclose any compromising information, from financial irregularities to an extramarital affair.”
“Behavior of the kind that is perceived as scandalous would be problematic for the CIA director,” Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, told the Globe. “It would make it harder for the agency to enforce standards among its workforce and it would be a significant distraction in terms of the agency’s public relations.”
Most of the reaction in Washington reads like a sad political obituary for an extraordinary military leader, some suggesting that his marital infidelity should not have been reason for his departure from official public life. After all, it is noted, General Dwight Eisenhower carried on an affair when he was leading the allies to victory in Europe in World War 11. More recently, a string of prominent politicians – from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to former President Bill Clinton – have survived similar scandals.
But not, it appears, in the case of David Petraeus.