Gen. David Petraeus’ official reason for resigning his job as head of the CIA was because of his extramarital affair with biographer Paula Broadwell, but increasingly, people are wondering if a whole different sort of affair is actually the real reason behind his sudden departure.
While the details concerning the trysts between the couple are starting to leak out, the affairs surrounding the deadly Sept. 11 attack on Benghazi were also hanging over the general’s head, and now that he’s resigned his CIA post, he says he won’t be testifying at hearings about the incident — even though CIA operatives died there.
Instead, reports Poltico, a spokesman for the committee said acting CIA Director Mike Morell will testify next Thursday in Petraeus’ place.
But Petraeus was among numerous intelligence officers who were to testify at the hearing, which still includes James Clapper, director of national intelligence and Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center.
Petraeus, though, already testified just three days after the attacks — but his statements have already been discounted as information comes about the attack.
In the Sept. 14 testimony, Petraeus said the attack began as a spontaneous protest against the film “The Innocence of Muslims,” , but Petreaus said Islamic militants with links to Al Qaeda may have taken advantage of the protests to launch an attack.
The testimony came in the days before evidence mounted that the attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other diplomatic staff may have been outright terrorism and not connected to the movie at all.
Even at that hearing, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., discounted Petraeus’ statements, saying the attack was “a terrorist attack organized and carried out by terrorists.
This was a calculated act of terror on the part of a small group of jihadists, not a mob that somehow attacked and sacked our embassy. People don’t go to demonstrate and carry RPGs and automatic weapons.
But McCain Friday still praised Petraeus:
Gen. David Petraeus will stand in the ranks of America’s greatest military heroes. His inspirational leadership and his genius were directly responsible – after years of failure – for the success of the surge in Iraq. General Petraeus has devoted his life to serving the country he loves, and America is so much the better for it. We are immensely grateful for General Petraeus’s decades of work on behalf of our nation, our military, and our security. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.
It’s not clear, though, just why Petraeus is being excused from testifying at next week’s hearing. He was the man in charge of the CIA at the time of the attacks, while questions still swirl about whether U.S. officials did enough to protect the embassy staff following several threats.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is stepping down at the end of Obama’s first term of office (which she decided to do long ago), a few days after the attacks she is responsible for the security of American diplomats, possibly trying to stop the political fallout around the Sept. 11 attack on a Libyan embassy that left an ambassador and three staff members dead.
Clinton, who is visiting Peru, said an investigation now under way will determine what happened in the attack, reports CNN, but she emphasized President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden aren’t involved in security decisions.
The timing of the Petraeus resignation is also being called into question, coming just days after Obama was re-elected, and people are asking why news of Petraeus’ affair waited.
CIA’s Petraeus Resigns Over Affair on.wsj.com/TzyBQL3 days before Benghazi hearings, and this is supposed to smell right?
— Todderm (@Todderm) November 10, 2012