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- 11-13-2012, 12:09 PM #1
The Sins Of General David Petraeus
The Sins Of General David Petraeus
Petraeus seduced America. We should never have trusted him.
Michael Hastings BuzzFeed Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2012 5:43pm EST
The fraud that General David Petraeus perpetrated on America started many years before the general seduced Paula Broadwell, a lower-ranking officer 20 years his junior, after meeting her on a campus visit to Harvard.
More so than any other leading military figure, Petraeus’ entire philosophy has been based on hiding the truth, on deception, on building a false image. “Perception” is key, he wrote in his 1987 Princeton dissertation: "What policymakers believe to have taken place in any particular case is what matters — more than what actually occurred."
Yes, it’s not what actually happens that matters — it’s what you can convince the public it thinks happened.
Until this weekend, Petraeus had been incredibly successful in making the public think he was a man of great integrity and honor, among other things. Most of the stories written about him fall under what we hacks in the media like to call “a blow job." Vanity Fair. The New Yorker. The New York Times. The Washington Post. Time. Newsweek. In total, all the profiles, stage-managed and controlled by the Pentagon’s multimillion dollar public relations apparatus, built up an unrealistic and superhuman myth around the general that, in the end, did not do Petraeus or the public any favors. Ironically, despite all the media fellating, our esteemed and sex-obsessed press somehow missed the actual blow job.
Before I lay out the Petraeus counter-narrative — a narrative intentionally ignored by most of the Pentagon press and national security reporters, for reasons I’ll soon explain — let me say this about the man once known as King David, General Betray-Us, or P4, by his admirers, his enemies, and his fellow service members, respectively. He’s an impressive guy, a highly motivated individual, a world-class bullshit artist, a fitness addict, and a man who spent more time in shitty places over the past 10 years than almost any other American serving his or her country has. I've covered him for seven years now, and he’ll always have my respect and twisted admiration.
So it’s fair to say that P4 probably deserves something a little better than the public humiliation he’s about to endure. Sources who long feared him have already begun to leak salacious details; one told me this weekend that he took Broadwell along with him on a government-funded trip to Paris in July 2011. And questions about his role in the Benghazi debacle are also likely to deepen.
And Broadwell, too, is about to get slandered in a way no woman deserves. She’s the Pentagon’s Monica Lewinksy — and, despite Team Petraeus’ much advertised lip service to courage and integrity, it didn’t take long for his allies to swarm the press with anonymous quotes smearing the West Point graduate and married mother of two: that she wore “tight clothes,” as The Washington Post reported, or that she had her “claws in him.” In other words, how could Old Dave have resisted that slut’s charms?
Pretty shitty behavior, all around. As Petraeus ally and counterinsurgency scholar Dr. Andrew Exum might put it, stay classy!
But the warning signs about Petraeus’ core dishonesty have been around for years. Here's a brief summary: We can start with the persistent questions critics have raised about his Bronze Star for Valor. Or that, in 2004, during the middle of a presidential election, Petraeus wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post supporting President Bush and saying that the Iraq policy was working. The policy wasn’t working, but Bush repaid the general’s political advocacy by giving him the top job in the war three years later.
There’s his war record in Iraq, starting when he headed up the Iraqi security force training program in 2004. He’s more or less skated on that, including all the weapons he lost, the insane corruption, and the fact that he essentially armed and trained what later became known as “Iraqi death squads.” On his final Iraq tour, during the so-called "surge," he pulled off what is perhaps the most impressive con job in recent American history. He convinced the entire Washington establishment that we won the war.
He did it by papering over what the surge actually was: We took the Shiites' side in a civil war, armed them to the teeth, and suckered the Sunnis into thinking we’d help them out too. It was a brutal enterprise — over 800 Americans died during the surge, while hundreds of thousands of Iraqis lost their lives during a sectarian conflict that Petraeus’ policies fueled. Then he popped smoke and left the members of the Sunni Awakening to fend for themselves. A journalist friend told me a story of an Awakening member, exiled in Amman, whom Petraeus personally assured he would never abandon. The former insurgent had a picture of Petraeus on his wall, but was a little hurt that the general no longer returned his calls.
MoveOn may have been ill-advised to attack the general as "Betray Us" in Washington, but there was little doubt that many in the Awakening felt betrayed.
Petraeus was so convincing on Baghdad that he manipulated President Obama into trying the same thing in Kabul. In Afghanistan, he first underhandedly pushed the White House into escalating the war in September 2009 (calling up columnists to “box” the president in) and waged a full-on leak campaign to undermine the White House policy process. Petraeus famously warned his staff that the White House was “****ing” with the wrong guy.
The doomed Afghanistan surge would come back to bite him in the ass, however. A year after getting the war he wanted, P4 got stuck having to fight it himself. After Petraeus frenemy General Stanley McChrystal got fired for trashing the White House in a story I published in Rolling Stone, the warrior-scholar had to deploy yet again.
The Afghan war was a loser, always was, and always would be — Petraeus made horrible deals with guys like Abdul Razzik and the other Afghan gangsters and killed a bunch of people who didn’t need to be killed. And none of it mattered, or made a dent in his reputation. This was the tour where Broadwell joined him at headquarters, and it’s not so shocking that he’d need to find some solace, somewhere, to get that daily horror show out of his mind.
(This past summer, there were more attacks in Afghanistan than in the summer before the surge, a devastating statistic. I could keep going, but if you’re interested, check out The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan.)
How did Petraeus get away with all this for so long? Well, his first affair — and one that matters so much more than the fact that he was sleeping with a female or two — was with the media.
(For the record: Who really cares whom P4 is sleeping with? The idea that the FBI was investigating his sex life says more about the FBI and our absurd surveillance and national security state than it does about King David’s morality.)
Petraeus’ first biographer, former U.S. News and World Report reporter Linda Robinson, wrote a book about him, then went to CENTCOM to work for him. Yes — a so-called journalist published a book about him, then started getting a paycheck from him soon after. This went largely unremarked upon.
Another huge supporter was Tom Ricks, a former Washington Post journalist who found a second career as unofficial press agent for the general and his friends. Ricks is the ringleader of what I like to call “the media-military industrial complex,” setting the standard for its incestuous everyday corruption. He not only built Dave up, he facilitated the disastrous liaison between Broadwell and Petraeus. Ricks helped get Broadwell a literary agent, a six-figure book deal, and a publisher.
Broadwell was sold to publishers as much for her looks as what she was writing — she was an attractive package to push Petraeus and his counterinsurgency ideas. Little, Brown editor Geoff Shandler once told me how “hot” he thought Broadwell was after she came in to meet him at his office, and indicated to me that Broadwell had made him somewhat aroused. Intellectual integrity all around, to be sure.
Ricks blurbed her in All In, and earlier had promoted her content on his blog — the oddly titled Travels With Paula, a headline he slapped to a story about the U.S. military’s total destruction of a small village in southern Afghanistan. Broadwell described the ultra-violent wipeout in favorable terms — and when she was confronted with an angry villager whose house had been destroyed, she wrote that the Afghan’s tears and anger were a “a fit of theatrics.”
This was the kind of bullshit Ricks and Broadwell had been pushing — and it not only wasn’t called bullshit, it was embraced as serious work. Ricks wasn’t the only offender, of course — Petraeus more or less had journalists from many major media outlets slurping from the Pentagon’s gravy train. The typical route was to have all the cash and favors funneled through a third party like the Center for a New American Security.
CNAS was a Petraeus-inspired operation from its inception in 2007, and it made its reputation promoting Petraeus’ counterinsurgency plans. No problem, right? Except that it put the journalists who were covering those same plans and policies on its payroll. For instance, New York Times Pentagon correspondent Thom Shanker took money and a position from CNAS and still covered the Pentagon; Robert Kaplan, David Cloud from the Los Angeles Times, and others produced a small library’s worth of hagiographies while sharing office space at CNAS with retired generals whom they’d regularly quote in their stories.
But Petraeus’ crash is more significant than the latest nonsense sex scandal. As President Obama says, our decade of war is coming to an end. The reputations of the men who were intimately involved in these years of foreign misadventure, where we tortured and supported torture, armed death squads, conducted nightly assassinations, killed innocents, and enabled corruption on an unbelievable scale, lie in tatters.
McChrystal, Caldwell, and now Petraeus — the era of the celebrity general is over. Everyone is paying for their sins. (And before we should shed too many tears for the plight of King David and his men, remember, they’ll be taken care of with speaking fees and corporate board memberships, rewarded as instant millionaires by the same defense establishment they served so well.)
Before Dave fell for Paula, we fell for Dave. He tried to convince us that heroes aren’t human. They are human, like us, and sometimes worse.
The Sins Of General David PetraeusU.S. Constitution - Article IV, Section 4: GUARANTEES AMERICA FROM INVASION!
- 11-13-2012, 12:12 PM #2
Petraeus Scandal Expands to Cabinet as Benghazi Ties Hinted
After Resigning in Disgrace, Petraeus 'Too Busy' to Testify
by Jason Ditz, November 12, 2012
Iraq Commander turned CENTCOM Commander turned Afghanistan Commander turned CIA Director David Petraeus spent the weekend unemployed, having resigned on Friday in the face of evidence he gave his girlfriend access to classified data.
But despite what one would figure is a wide open schedule, with his government career in tatters and his political future presumably dead, indications are that the “retired” general is “too busy” to testify on the September 11 attack on the Benghazi Consulate.
But the scandal surrounding both the literal and figurative Petraeus Affair continues to grow with or without him, and has even has a potential Benghazi link now, with the discovery that Petraeus’s girlfriend Paula Broadwell recently made a claim that the Benghazi attack was centered not on the consulate but on the CIA safehouse, which she insists was housing detainees.
The CIA denies this, but a claim that was totally ignored at the time because there was no reason to take Broadwell’s word for it, is getting a lot more attention now that it is known she had classified documents on her personal computer and could well have had inside access on the CIA’s info on the attack.
Broadwell’s classified data access is also having fallout beyond Petraeus now, with eyes turning on Attorney General Eric Holder, who knew about the investigation for months but reportedly kept it a secret until the end of the November 6 election, at which time he told DNI James Clapper, who advised Petraeus to resign.
There was already a lot of anger about the FBI not coming forward with information to Congress about the investigation as soon as it was apparent that there was a national security component, but if it turns out the Justice Department deliberately kept it under wraps to avoid any political fallout before the election, the scandal is even bigger.
And that could be the tip of the iceberg. If Broadwell’s claims about the CIA holding detainees in Benghazi also turns out to be true, that whole separate scandal is potentially far bigger, as keeping that secret, along with the administration’s already shaky history of truth-telling on Benghazi, could suggest there really was a cover-up in the wake of the attack on the consulate, that the Obama Administration lied about ending the use of CIA black sites, and got their own ambassador killed in doing so.
The possible fallout of all that, even coming after the presidential election, is virtually unfathomable, and as a part of the story continues to center on a sordid affair the real information about very really issues seems to be coming out as well.
Petraeus Scandal Expands to Cabinet as Benghazi Ties Hinted -- News from Antiwar.comU.S. Constitution - Article IV, Section 4: GUARANTEES AMERICA FROM INVASION!
- 11-13-2012, 12:20 PM #3U.S. Constitution - Article IV, Section 4: GUARANTEES AMERICA FROM INVASION!
- 11-13-2012, 02:14 PM #4A Covert Affair:
Petraeus Caught in the Honeypot?
Almost certainly it was a counterintelligence investigation, i.e. a pushback against efforts by some foreign entity to penetrate or otherwise compromise US secrets.
By Justin Raimondo
November 12, 2012 "Information Clearing House" - The outing of Gen. David Petraeus as an adulterer, and his subsequent resignation as CIA Director, was carried out by an unknown FBI “whistleblower” who leaked the facts of the FBI investigation into the General’s private life to Rep. Eric Cantor. The New York Times reports:
“Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, said Saturday an F.B.I. employee whom his staff described as a whistle-blower told him about Mr. Petraeus’s affair and a possible security breach in late October, which was after the investigation had begun.“’I was contacted by an F.B.I. employee concerned that sensitive, classified information may have been compromised and made certain Director Mueller was aware of these serious allegations and the potential risk to our national security,’ Mr. Cantor said in a statement.“Mr. Cantor talked to the person after being told by Representative Dave Reichert, Republican of Washington, that a whistle-blower wanted to speak to someone in the Congressional leadership about a national security concern. On Oct. 31, his chief of staff, Steve Stombres, called the F.B.I. to tell them about the call.”
The FBI probe apparently started in late spring, when several people associated with Petraeus — not just the one woman, as has been reported elsewhere — received harassing emails. The emails were traced to 40-year-old Paula Broadwell, national security analyst, military intelligence veteran, and author of a biography of Petraeus. Authorities believed his email account may have been hacked, and this led to a remarkable irony: the CIA chief’s emails were monitored, without his knowledge, whereupon it was discovered Broadwell may have either had access to his account or tried to obtain access. In any case, in the course of their spying, FBI monitors discovered a large volume of emails to and from Broadwell. Looking for evidence of a security breach, all they found was evidence of a “human drama,” as one anonymous FBI official put it: an illicit affair between Petraeus and Broadwell.
Petraeus was only informed of the investigation on October 25 or 26. So here we have the astonishing fact of the CIA’s head honcho being spied on for a period of months by our own law enforcement officials.
Or maybe it wasn’t a simple case of complaints about “harassing” or threatening emails. Fox News avers:
“The FBI had been investigating an unrelated and much broader case before stumbling on the affair. Fox News has learned that during the course of this investigation, the name of biographer Paula Broadwell came up. The FBI followed that lead and in doing so, uncovered his affair with her.”
What was this “much broader case”? Almost certainly it was a counterintelligence investigation, i.e. a pushback against efforts by some foreign entity to penetrate or otherwise compromise US secrets. We can only guess at the specifics, however we do know that in the course of that investigation Broadwell’s name “came up.”
On the surface, at least, Broadwell is not the sort of person whose name would come up in a counterintelligence investigation: a West Point graduate, where she earned degrees in political geography and systems engineering, she seems like the veritable embodiment of All-American
red-white-and-blue super-patriotism. This biographical account on her high school website says
“Paula pursued a military intelligence career abroad, serving in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. During her service, especially after 9-11, Paula’s intensity was directed toward the war against terror; her contributions and efforts to thwart terrorism have been commended by the U.S. Army and by Europe’s Special Operations Forces Commanding General. In this arena, she has planned counter-terrorism initiatives presented to NATO and worked on transnational counter-terrorism issues with foreign and domestic agencies, U.S. Special Forces, and the FBI.”
Graduate studies at the University of Denver in Middle East studies enabled her to travel to “Jordan and Israel,” and make a swing through the Persian Gulf and Europe where she spoke at various conferences. This triumphal tour was capped by a Harvard fellowship “for study in Syria and Iran.”
While Broadwell’s current academic affiliation is with Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, her previous post was deputy director of the Jebsen Center for Counter-Terrorism Studies at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. The Center, according to its self-description, “distinguishes itself by a philosophy that maintains counter-terrorism should be predictive, preventive and preemptive, with the latter being a last resort.” Founded in 2005, the Jebsen Center was made possible by the generous donation of one Jan Henrik Jebsen, heir to the Norwegian shipping fortune, who gave $1.3 million to set it up. Jebsen, a former investment banker with Lazard Freres, is the principal of Gamma Applied Visions Group, an international octopus with tentacles all over the place: part arms dealer and weapons developer, part “green” energy company.
As one might expect from someone who has so much of his multi-billion dollar fortune invested in making and selling armaments, Jebsen is on the board of directors of the distinctly warlike Hudson Institute, where Scooter Libby, Douglas Feith, Michael Ledeen, and practically every neocon you’ve ever heard of have found refuge.
While, in true neocon fashion, Hudson scholars conjure a wide diversity of imminent “threats” to the US, including China and Russia, their main focus is the threat of Islamist radicalism, especially as it impacts Israel. Indeed, Hudson operates inside Israel, where it pushes the far-rightist views of the most extreme elements in Israeli society: the settler movement, and the faction of Likud angling for war with Iran. It has also focused its attention on purging universities of academics who don’t toe the right-wing ultra-nationalist Likudnik line.
More recently, former Hudson president and “trustee emeritus” Max Singer — who has since moved to Israel, where, as a “public policy consultant” at Bar Ilan University, he spends his time inciting violence against Palestinians — is on a mission to protect Israel from the alleged threat posed by the President of the United States.
The Jebsen Center has been equally useful to the neocons. Richard H. Schultz, head of Tufts’ International Studies program (of which the Center is a part) was a signatory to the Project for a New American Century’s “open letter” to President Bush urging war with Iraq and a number of other Middle Eastern actors in the wake of 9/11. Here he is recommending the importation of Israeli “anti-terrorist” techniques to pacify the restless natives of Iraq. Here is another Jebsen Center scholar describing alleged terrorist actions engaged in by Iran worldwide. And then there’s the testimony of this guy:
“The idea of overthrowing the Iranian government through covert but peaceful means is not original. The project was first brought to my attention in August 2006 when I worked as an intern research assistant at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Diplomacy’s Jebsen Center for Counter-terrorism. I worked for the then director of the center Brigadier General Russell Howard (Ret.) on a project titled Bringing Down Iran Without Firing A Shot. I wasn’t very experienced in the world of covert operations in the field or in the academic realm but I was very interested in becoming involved in it. General Howard, on the other hand, was not only a counter-terrorism strategist but a veteran Special Forces officer, an academic, and a tutor. It was General Howard who introduced me to the idea of targeting factors specific to Iran in order to adapt to the country’s specific needs. He had six factors which he believed were important: The military use of ongoing insurgencies within Iran, political strife, economic strife, declining oil revenues, demographics, and deteriorating infrastructure.”
Interestingly, in November of 2006, during her tenure at the Jebsen Center, Broadwell led a group of Fletcher School students on a trip to New York City to meet with then Iranian UN representative Javad Zarif. Both are alumni of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.
All this establishes a context that goes far beyond the titillating details of the alleged affair between Petraeus and Broadwell — and this is no doubt what set alarm bells ringing in the intelligence community when it was revealed. Is there really any need to point out the uses of the “honeypot” in intelligence-gathering and other covert activities regularly engaged in by spooks of all nations? From Mata Hari to the Mossad agent who lured Israeli nuclear scientist Mordecahi Vanunu, sex is a time-honored weapon in the war of spy-vs-spy. A secret affair with the CIA Director is the equivalent of the Honeypot Olympics, and we have to ask: was the remarkably fit Ms. Broadwell a lure? If so, she’s won a Gold Medal.
Broadwell’s actions — sending emails that were bound to be traced back to her — appear to make little sense on the surface. But if the goal of luring a 60-year-old geezer into an affair with a much younger woman was to expose him, and get him fired, then surely her antics succeeded in accomplishing that goal.
So who would have an interest in getting rid of Petraeus? Here’s where the Cantor connection comes in. The tip by an anonymous “FBI employee” that wound up in Cantor’s office two weeks ago came through Rep. David Reichert, Republican of Washington state, who has a friend who knows the whistleblower. Cantor then spoke to the whistleblower directly, who put him in touch with FBI Director Mueller.
Cantor is a great friend of Israel, and Petraeus — not so much. The General was attacked, as you’ll recall, by partisans of the Lobby, including Abe Foxman, when he delivered testimony before Congress citing Israel as a strategic liability in the Middle East. As the executor of the new Obamaite policy of sidling up to Islamists, not only in Libya but also in Syria and Egypt, Petraeus was no doubt seen by the Israelis as an enemy to be neutralized.
Broadwell’s affiliation with the Jebsen Center, and the Center’s connection to the neoconservative network, sets the scene: a young, attractive woman with impeccable national security credentials throws herself at Petraeus, and he takes the bait. Whether she’s been recruited by a foreign intelligence agency at this point or not is irrelevant: he’s already put himself in a vulnerable position, and there are any number of actors on the international stage more than willing to press their advantage.
Will we ever know the full story? At this point, the story is so hot that it may burn the cover story — “it’s all about sex” — right off the wrapper. Because there’s more — a lot more — here than meets the eye. When Cantor pledged to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he and his fellow Republicans “will serve as a check on the administration” in regard to the President’s policy toward Israel, he was clearly aligning himself with a foreign leader against American interests as perceived by the White House. But would he really go this far — deliberately taking down a key figure, one beloved by Republicans, in order to keep his promise to Netanyahu?
Stay tuned to this space, because this story is moving fast….
Update: This morning [11/12/12] the New York Times reports:
“F.B.I. agents interviewed Ms. Broadwell for the first time the week of Oct. 21, and she acknowledged the affair, a government official briefed on the matter said. She also voluntarily gave the agency her computer. In a search, the agents discovered several classified documents, which raised the additional question of whether Mr. Petraeus had given them to her. She said that he had not. Agents interviewed Mr. Petraeus the following week. He also admitted to the affair but said he had not given any classified documents to her. The agents then interviewed Ms. Broadwell again on Friday, Nov. 2, the official said.”
Last edited by HAPPY2BME; 11-13-2012 at 02:19 PM.U.S. Constitution - Article IV, Section 4: GUARANTEES AMERICA FROM INVASION!
- 11-13-2012, 04:16 PM #5
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'Bombshell story is just a smoke screen for something bigger'...
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Local TV station mistakenly airs altered, sexually-suggestive version of Broadwell's book cover...
Petraeus investigation ensnares commander of U.S., NATO troops in Afghanistan
Video: Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, is now under investigation in a case that's linked to the scandal that forced CIA Director David Petraeus to step down.
By Craig Whitlock and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2:00 PM
PERTH, Australia — The FBI probe into the sex scandal that prompted CIA Director David Petraeus to resign has expanded to ensnare Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced early Tuesday.
According to a senior U.S. defense official, the FBI has uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of documents — most of them e-mails — that contain “potentially inappropriate” communication between Allen and Jill Kelley, the 37-year-old Tampa woman whose report of harassment by a person who turned out to be Petraeus’s mistress ultimately led to Petraeus’s downfall.
U.S. Constitution - Article IV, Section 4: GUARANTEES AMERICA FROM INVASION!
- 11-13-2012, 04:19 PM #6
Incredible corruption throughout our entire government ..U.S. Constitution - Article IV, Section 4: GUARANTEES AMERICA FROM INVASION!