Petraeus affair: From romantic jealousy to the downfall of 'King David'
Details are emerging about the extramarital affair that led to CIA Director David Petraeus's resignation. Some in Congress want to know why the FBI waited so long to inform them.
The sudden resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus apparently started out in prosaic fashion, based on romantic jealousy that sounds like junior high school.Skip to next paragraph
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According to news reports that grew in detail over the weekend, the retired four-star Army general’s paramour – identified widely as Petraeus biographer and confidant Paula Broadwell – had become jealous of another woman close to Mr. Petraeus. She sent harassing e-mails to the other woman, who filed a complaint eventually taken up by the FBI.
When agents investigated Ms. Broadwell’s e-mail account, they discovered romantic exchanges she had had with the CIA director. Concerned about possible security breaches, agents looked at Petraeus’s personal email account. In a short time he was admitting to an extramarital affair and handing his resignation to President Obama.
At this point, there is no evidence that intelligence or national security secrets were compromised during the hidden affair, officials have said. It was via his personal Gmail account – not his secure CIA email – that Petraeus and Broadwell communicated. As a West Point graduate and Army Reserve officer, Broadwell had her own security clearance, although she would not have had the “need to know” required for the highest levels of secrecy.
As the scandal broke, official Washington remained generally laudatory of Petraeus.
With a reputation as one of the best thinkers in the US military (he has a PhD in international relations from Princeton University) as well as battlefield commanders, he designed and led the military surge in Iraq, then was tapped by President Obama to take over as top US commander in Afghanistan when Gen. Stanley McChrystal was relieved of duty in 2010 for controversial comments in Rolling Stone magazine.
A year later, Petraeus was confirmed as CIA director when Leon Panetta moved on to become Secretary of Defense.
Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), adultery is a punishable offense for soldiers if the conduct is shown to be detrimental “to good order and discipline in the armed forces or was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.”