November 10, 2012

Petraeus' Resignation: What Changed? Why Is He No Longer Going To Testify Before Congress?

Monique Chartier

Yesterday, David Petraeus resigned as Director of the CIA, citing an extramarital affair.

General Petraeus was scheduled to testify before Congress about the Benghazi debacle. Except that, hours after the announcement of his resignation came the news, without further elaboration, that he was not going to do so.

Why not? That he has now stepped down from the post does not change that he was, in fact, Director of the CIA and that he presumably (.... well, is there any doubt now?) possesses information that could shed light on the terrible events, decisions and repeated inaction that led to the death of four Americans at the Benghazi consulate during the September 11 attack. This is one rare instance where I agree with Dem Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Friday that she believed Petraeus’s infidelity did not require him to resign.

Congressman Peter King still very much plans to call on General Petraeus to testify. Any response along the lines of, "Not gonna happen; I've quit because I had an affair" would pass no test of credulity, legality or honor. Is this how the General wishes to conclude his remarkable career?


David P, Dan and Warrington have pointed out that, for several reasons, General Petraeus was obliged to resign in light of the affair. I stand corrected on that point. My not fully expressed thought was to question his resignation if its purpose was solely to get him out of testifying before Congress.

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I think we need to take a deep breath before we assume that David Petraeus will never testify or even that he will resist testifying. I imagine he was scheduled to testify next week as Director of Central Intelligence presenting the official position of the CIA. It is no longer appropriate for him to testify in that capacity. Congress can and should request his testimony in his personal capacity at some point. I am quite certain that it will call on Petraeus to testify at some point and I'm almost as certain that he will appear willingly without requiring a subpoena.

Secondly, although I admire Petraeus greatly, I think he did have to resign. This kind of indiscretion would have been a career ender for any other CIA employee and the boss can't be seen to be getting away with behavior that is forbidden to his subordinates. By resigning he has taken responsibility for his actions and set an example for others of how to respond to a personal failing. I don't know what this will mean for his family but I think his public record to this point has been so stellar that, with the perspective of time, this incident will be greatly overshadowed by his accomplishments.

Posted by: David P at November 10, 2012 8:33 AM

The CIA wouldn't even consider an applicant who had infidelity issues or anything that could present an opportunity for blackmail or embarrassment, nor would they tolerate it from any current member. That's not even getting into the distraction it would become or how it would affect the reputation of the agency. He had to resign, it's not even a question.

Posted by: Dan at November 10, 2012 9:49 AM

Don Imus had the biographer, Paula Broadwell, on to talk about the book "All In" awhile back. I remember thinking that she was too close to her subject and had probably fallen in love with him. I'm surprised she is 40, married with two kids. I wouldn't have thought that from the interview. She was absolutely worshipful, my god, she sounded like Chris Christie on Obama! Knowing how mischievous Imus is, he'll probably do a special report on Monday. I'd like to hear it again just to see if I was being too cynical.
Lots of conspiracy chatter about the FBI investigating the CIA director. There were hundreds of emails between them, some evidently racy. The CIA has no domestic responsibility although I'm sure they have an internal security division for the brass. The FBI was investigating because she was trying to authorize his private email and that set off alarm bells. There is no great rift between our domestic and foreign security bureaus, although you will probably hear otherwise. I don't think Petraeus would have any specific knowledge about Benghazi that his second in command and likely successor, Morell, wouldn't. But again, I'm sure we'll hear different.

Posted by: observer at November 10, 2012 12:28 PM

I think he did have to resign, honor requires it. So does good sense. When my father worked in "top secret" and higher, they wouldn't hire single men over 35 (all the famous British turncoats of the 50's & 60's were gay)or anyone with fidelity issues (blackmail). I wonder how the FBI turned Petraeus up?(a cobbler has holes in his shoes?) The timing seems suspicious. It has apparently been known for several months.

How things change, he is now a favorite of the Left. Just a few years ago they were calling him "General Betraeus".

Posted by: Warrington Faust at November 10, 2012 1:59 PM

This smells rotten to the core.
Petraeus resigns just after the election and just before he was to testify about the CIA's knowledge of/role in the outrageous abandonment of Ambassador Stevens and his security team in Benghazi before they were slaughtered by al Qaeda terrorists.
Slaughtered after a 7 hour firefight when no one came to help them.
Obama has been lying through his teeth regarding his knowledge of the events that lead up to that slaughter.
Now the WH spin is that Obama had no knowledge of Eric Holder's FBI investigating the head of the CIA???
Doesn't pass the laugh test never mind the smell test.
Obama knew what they had on Petraeus and he knew quite awhile ago and sat on that information.
Question is did Obama force the Petraeus out in an effort to delegitimize the General before his testimony or did Petraeus quit because he wasn't going to be blackmailed by the WH into falling on the sword over Benghazi?
General Petraeus will testify eventually.
Now even Obama's mainstream media can no longer ignore/avoid/stonewall this story.

Posted by: Linda at November 10, 2012 6:32 PM

I note from Drudge that Petraeus may face "criminal charges" although they seem to be unstated. It seems almost quaint to recall that adultery is still a crime in the military.

Reminds me of my callow youth. In the eighth grade I asked the teacher why Hester Prynne wore a scarlet "A". He grew very flustered and red in the face, then blurted out "Adultery! There you made me say it, now get out of my class." I left thinking "adultery" must be something "adults" did that kids shouldn't know about.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at November 12, 2012 11:26 PM

The Sheldon Whitehouse connection to this debacle:

Posted by: Max D. at November 13, 2012 4:12 PM

This story grows more, and more, bizarre. Further proof that truth is stranger than fiction, of course, fiction has to be plausible and credible. Truth does not.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at November 13, 2012 9:45 PM

Two other points:

The FBI was investigating the Director of the CIA and the President knew nothing about it? Still laughing my ass off at that one.

The media is actually spinning this as not politically damaging because Petraeus was not an Obama guy. Really? No bias there.

Posted by: Max D at November 14, 2012 9:24 AM

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER now reports/suggests that the administration was using their knowledge of the affair to influence Petraeaus's testimony on Benghazi.

If that is the case, resignation was the only honorable path.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at November 14, 2012 10:07 AM
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