CIA Director David Petraeus has resigned his post after admitting to an extramarital affair, believed to be with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. The affair was discovered through an FBI investigation and came as a shock to observers and insiders alike. Here’s everything you need to know:
1. David Patraeus Was Not Liked At The CIA
According to Bloomberg News, many at the CIA thought he was too focused on military operations and not enough on intelligence operations. They also thought he was far too self-assured.
Richard Engel suggests Petraeus wasn’t liked at CIA – that CIA had to invite FBI to investigate him.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 10, 2012
It says something that there are rumors that the CIA called in the FBI to investigate. The two agencies are historically not fond of each other.
2. Petraeus Was Undone By Gmail
The affair was uncovered by an FBI investigation into Petraeus’ Gmail account. The investigation was reportedly into whether someone else had access to his account. The investigation may have been spurred by several people who know Petraeus receiving anonymous harassing emails.
It is suspected that the emails were sent from Broadwell and that she got the email addresses from his account.
3. Petraeus’ Personal Gmail Account Is A National Security Issue
Many have responded to the news of Petraeus’ resignation by wonder why he had to be fired for having an affair. That hardly seems a fireable offense for the head of the CIA. It wasn’t. He didn’t resign because of the affair, but because of the security breach of someone having access to his private emails.
As Max Fisher points out in the Washington Post, “The information [in his email account] could have proved of enormous value to foreign hackers, who already maintain a near-constant effort to access sensitive U.S. data.”
The data wouldn’t be the most anything too high level, but even compromising his foreign contacts could have huge repercussions.
4. No One Knew Until Just Before The Affair Was Announced
No one outside of the FBI investigation and those involved in the affair knew about it until the last minute. Senior members of Congress were filled in on the news about six hours before the CIA made its announcement.
The FBI didn’t even tell members Senate and House Intelligence Committees about the investigation until this week despite the fact that they are supposed to inform the members of those committees about any significant intelligence developments.
The President was completely unaware until he was informed by his staff Thursday morning. They had found out about the affair and Petraeus’ intention to resign Wednesday night.
5. Paula Broadwell Was Still Doing Press For Petraeus This Week
In the latest Newsweek, Broadwell published “General David Petraeus’s Rules for Living.”
Rule #5 is actually rather prescient:
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.
6. Petraeus Will No Longer Testify About Libya
Petraeus was set to testify before the Senate intelligence committee next week about the attack on the Benghazi consulate that resulted in four American deaths. Acting director Michael Morell will testify in his place.
7. This Likely Squashes All Hope Of A Presidential Campaign
General Petraeus is the rare figure in American political life who is lauded by both sides of the aisle. He was confirmed as CIA director in the gridlocked Senate by a 94-0 vote.
He’s the most famous military figure in the nation who saw success as the top commander in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was especially a hero on the right, many of whom openly opined for him to run for president. A presidential run on the Republican ticket was not out of the question for the general and many felt it was likely.
His political future now seems limited and a run for president is almost definitely not going to happen.
8. Petraeus And Broadwell Met In 2006
The two met in 2006 at Harvard. They began keeping in touch via email shortly after that. Though, they reportedly didn’t start the affair until after Petraeus retired from the military in 2011 and ended months ago. They also didn’t even have a physical affair, but instead were carrying on over email, according to a Wall Street Journal source.
9. Petraeus’ Wife, Holly, Also Works In Government
Holly Petraeus works at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advocating on behalf of military families. She runs a branch of the agency that educates military families about financial decisions and taking their consumer complaints.
She met David Petraeus when he was a cadet at West Point and she a student at Dickinson’s College. She was the daughter of West Point’s superintendent.
10. Broadwell Considers Petraeus Her Mentor
After meeting in 2006, as previously stated, Broadwell and Petraeus kept in touch to discuss her research. When President Obama named him to lead the US forces in Afghanistan in 2010, he invited her to Kabul and she decided to turn her dissertation into a biography. She has often referred to Petraeus as her mentor.
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