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It's interesting to note the subtext in the Petraeus resignation controversy, that the FBI investigation was the result of his paramour "blowing" the affair:

The F.B.I. investigation that led to the sudden resignation of David H. Petraeus as C.I.A. director on Friday began with a complaint several months ago about “harassing” e-mails sent by Paula Broadwell, Mr. Petraeus’s biographer, to another woman who knows both of them, two government officials briefed on the case said Saturday.

When F.B.I. agents following up on the complaint began to examine Ms. Broadwell’s e-mails, they discovered exchanges between her and Mr. Petraeus that revealed that they were having an affair, said several officials who spoke of the investigation on the condition of anonymity. They also discovered that Ms. Broadwell possessed certain classified information, one official said, but apparently concluded that it was probably not Mr. Petraeus who had given it to her and that there had been no major breach of security.

Scott Shane and Eric Schmitt - Biographer’s E-Mails to Woman Led F.B.I. to Petraeus NYT 10 Nov 12

Given Paula Broadwell's biography, "...she specialized in military intelligence, spending time at the U.S. Special Operations Command and the FBI Counterterrorism Task Forces before pursuing an academic career..." according to her publisher, one assumes she knew an email containing classified information would lead to an analysis of her on-line activity and the exposure of her relationship.  Her motivations are further confounded by the unnamed officials' suggestion that "the two women seemed be competing for Mr. Petraeus’s loyalty, if not his affection."  Needless to say her book "jumped from a ranking on Amazon of 76,792 on Friday to 111 by mid-Saturday."

In another version it is alleged that Ms Broadwell "or someone close to her" had sought access to Petraeus' Gmail account:

Associates of Petraeus had received “anonymous harassing emails” that were then traced to Broadwell, ABC’s Martha Raddatz reported, suggesting she may have found their names or addresses in his e-mail.

Max Fisher - Why David Petraeus’s Gmail account is a national security issue Washington Post 10 Nov 12

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar but in either scenario Ms Broadwell's activity triggers events leading to the exposure of the relationship and the demise of General Petraeus' otherwise illustrious career.  Another curiosity is the timing, it is clear that the relationship has ended, though it seems it was still ongoing at the time it attracted attention:
The computer investigation began late this spring, according to a person familiar with the investigation. Mr. Petraeus wasn't interviewed by the FBI until recently.

While Mr. Petraeus was still a general, he had email exchanges with the woman, but there wasn't a physical relationship, the person said. The affair began after Mr. Petraeus retired from the Army in August 2011 and ended months ago, the person said.

Devlin Barrett, Siobhan Gorman and Julian E Barnes - CIA Chief Resigns Over Affair WSJ 10 Nov 12

So why are we hearing about it only now?  Specifically just after the presidential election?  Well, that is a puzzle, and it has added fuel to the Right-wing controversy over the Benghazi tragedy as one would expect, given that General Petraeus was scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week:
According to the New York Times, the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was only informed about Petraeus's affair at 5pm on election day, and Obama didn't learn of it until Wednesday evening. The timing is just amazing. I am not sure quite what to think.

Booman - Strange Timing of Petraeus Knee-Capping Booman Tribune 10 Nov 11

Interestingly enough, House majority leader Eric Cantor got a tip-off even earlier:
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.

Scott Shane and Eric Schmitt - Biographer’s E-Mails to Woman Led F.B.I. to Petraeus NYT 10 Nov 12

Curiouser and curiouser; one wonders about the motivations of this "whistle-blower" under the circumstances and their political allegiances in going to the Republican leadership with the story during the election campaign.  It is also interesting to note that while a darling of the Right and an often mentioned presidential prospect General Petraeus was not above suspicion as a source of partisan administration leaks in security matters, coincidentally at just about the time the FBI started their investigation (emphasis added:)
The CIA director had lowered his media profile, stopping his practice of emailing reporters and ending once-common background interviews by the agency. That was especially the case after GOP allegations last spring that the Obama administration was leaking sensitive material to burnish its foreign policy reputation ahead of the presidential election, after a series of stories appeared about top secret operations aimed at al-Qaida in Yemen, and Iran's nuclear program. A White House-ordered investigation of those leaks continues.

Kimberley Dozier and Pete Yost - Official: Emails from paramour led to FBI probe AP via Star-Telegraph 10 Nov 12

Given the controversy over leaks it is worth reviewing the ambivalent reports which have emerged regarding the origin of the FBI investigation in the first instance:
Politico, however, hears that is likely an exaggeration and that concern over access to Petraeus’ e-mail was not what initiated the investigation. McClatchy hears similar information, noting that sources say “the FBI did not investigate the author for attempting to compromise Petraeus’ computer.” According to this version it seems that, as Reuters hears, investigators stumbled across evidence of the affair while investigating news leaks. Although it's unclear exactly why the FBI was monitoring Petraeus’ e-mail, a source tells the Washington Post, the FBI found e-mails describing the affair.

Daniel Politi - How Was Petraeus’ Affair Uncovered and Did he Really Have To Resign? Slate 10 Nov 11

Puzzling, to say the least.  In fact Petraeus had earlier become embroiled in a controversy with neo-conservatives and the pro-Israel lobby with a supposed leaked story in March of 2010, perhaps the nadir of US-Israeli relations:
On Jan. 16...a team of senior military officers from the U.S. Central Command, arrived at the Pentagon to brief Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The team had been dispatched by CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus to underline his growing worries at the lack of progress in resolving the issue. The 33-slide, 45-minute PowerPoint briefing stunned Mullen. The briefers reported that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel, that CENTCOM's mostly Arab constituency was losing faith in American promises, that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region

Mark Perry - The Petraeus briefing: Biden’s embarrassment is not the whole story Foreign Policy 13 Mar 10

This led to an alarmed back-and-forth among neo-conservatives and Petraeus which refuted the detail of the report while substantially confirming the substance and leaving the reader wondering where Mark Perry got the story from in the first instance.  Things got genuinely heated in January 2012 when Perry dropped another intelligence bombshell:
Buried deep in the archives of America's intelligence services are a series of memos, written during the last years of President George W. Bush's administration, that describe how Israeli Mossad officers recruited operatives belonging to the terrorist group Jundallah by passing themselves off as American agents. According to two U.S. intelligence officials, the Israelis, flush with American dollars and toting U.S. passports, posed as CIA officers in recruiting Jundallah operatives -- what is commonly referred to as a "false flag" operation.

Mark Perry - False Flag Foreign Policy 13 Jan 12

Coming as it did at a sensitive time this lit up the neo-conservative pro-Israeli lobby like a skyrocket:
Foreign Policy has produced a slander so outrageous that Israel broke with its strict policy of never confirming or denying covert operations to issue a flat denial – and surprisingly, given Israel’s notoriously poor public relations, it’s a convincing one. On Friday, the magazine published an article by Mark Perry, a military and intelligence analyst who once served as an advisor to Yasser Arafat, that accused Mossad agents of posing as CIA agents to recruit Pakistani terrorists to commit sabotage and assassinations inside Iran. The alleged operation infuriated two successive presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Perry wrote, because it endangered American lives, undermined America’s relationship with Pakistan and painted America as engaged in terrorist activity. Additionally, Perry said, it convinced many senior American officials that Israel was a liability rather than a strategic asset.

Evelyn Gordon - More About “Foreign Policy’s” Israel Slurs Commentary 16 Jan 12

Serious stuff.  And what was the consensus on the sourcing? (emphasis added:)
The article’s sourcing is problematic and should also raise red flags. Perry relies on two current intelligence officers, only one of whom has seen the memo alleging Israeli malfeasance. One officer—presumably the same who saw the memo and perhaps also wrote it—describes Bush’s reaction, and so presumably was a briefer for the White House. Should Gen. David Petraeus, director of Central Intelligence, wish to identify that leaker, he could do so easily.  [...]

When the intelligence community allows an individual’s political peccadilloes to corrupt its process, it permanently erodes its reputation and ability to conduct its mission. Should Petraeus decline to investigate, there are only three possibilities: He lacks control, he sanctioned the leaks himself, or conversely, his superiors in the White House are willing to corrupt intelligence to sanction anonymous Israel-bashing.

Michael Rubin - Did Israel Run a False Flag Operation? Commentary 16 Jan 12

It is worth noting that one of the above "false flag" pieces also mentions a number of Israeli intelligence scalps which have been taken over the years in similar circumstances:
Israel termed the report “absolute nonsense,” explaining that had it been true, then-Mossad chief Meir Dagan would have been declared persona non grata in Washington rather than being a welcome visitor. Nor is that idle speculation: Those same two presidents forced the ouster of three other senior Israeli defense officials over other issues; why would they have given Dagan a pass?

Just last year, Uzi Arad was forced to resign as chairman of Israel’s National Security Council due to Washington’s anger over leaked information from U.S.-Israeli talks on nuclear issues. And in 2005, two senior Defense Ministry officials – director general Amos Yaron and chief of security Yehiel Horev – were forced out due to Washington’s anger over Israel’s agreement to upgrade Harpy drones for China, following a year in which the Pentagon boycotted Yaron entirely.

Evelyn Gordon - More About “Foreign Policy’s” Israel Slurs Commentary 16 Jan 12

In this geopolitical context it is tempting to imagine a number of motivations for exploring General Petraeus' personal email activity other than the somewhat garbled narrative which has emerged so far regarding a tangential investigation of an erratic lover.  How was it that the internal counter-intelligence watchdogs at the Agency didn't catch this relationship earlier?  And how does the House majority leader get tipped-off about it by an external agency before the president is told?  And what of Ms Broadwell?  We will be watching her career with great interest.

Cross-posted at The Motley Moose and Booman Tribune

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank you for providing a coherent Timeline for me (14+ / 0-)

    Still, I can never forget that it was General Douchebag here that lied to the press regarding Iraqi WMDs, and somehow is rewarded for his actions by becoming director of the CIA. Proof positive that Incompetence can somehow carry you up the chain, no questions asked.

  •  This is the best analysis (11+ / 0-)

    of the Petraeus story I've seen anywhere!  Fine work!

  •  Broadwell had no prudence, (5+ / 0-)

    which is evident alone from the deliberate double entendres which filled her book and her interview on Daily Show.  She was a careerist and a 'Studentin', as the German's say, who was too ga ga for her own good.  She reminds of the twerps who snuck into the White House dinner.

    Probably the new internal surveillance regime after 9-11 allowed the WH to have Gen P fall on his sword so swiftly, as he is a major major potential political opponent, but there are wars to end and potential ceasarism to manage.  The Congressional noodle brains are the ones who have been complaining about leaks, and now they have thus put their own best chances on their auto da fe.

    No doubt the internal processes will appear less visible but as complex as whether and how Rove and Veep implicated the career foreign service and such in the Orange cake affair, but regardless of secondary events, the main narrative is a pure as a Foley....Kos should resist conspiracy theory while sorting this out but I'm surprised there isn't more investigative interest on side of the left. Thanks for the start.

    I'll be curious to hear how Michael Beschloss compares this to Eisenhower during WWII. Protestant asketics and zealotry in some sense appears to have a stronger role in politics today than in the wake of the New Deal.

    •  When I watched her talk about her Petraeus bio (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      semiot, wasatch, Sunspots, elizabethawilke

      earlier this year on CSPAN, I couldn't help wondering how someone this young and inexperienced as a writer would be allowed such close access to him and the privilege of writing his official bio. Something seemed off about that. I wrote it off as his wanting some fawning groupie (which she struck me as being) to write a glowing account of his brilliant career in anticipation of his entry into politics, and her being more than willing to oblige. I never really gave much thought to the possibility of their having an affair as such things are so common as to hardly be worth thinking about and not really very interesting.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 07:19:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for the insight, great diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shaun Appleby, semiot, Sunspots

    I sense a subtle strategic hand (or hands) moving in the background.

    The timing of the leak couldn't have been better for Ms B's book sales, as you cited with the Amazon figures.  It isn't going to hurt the advances for her next book either. Can't imagine what that one will be about, eh?

    So is there any way this whole thing is win-win-win for Ms Broadwell, Petraeus and the Administration?

    Reading between the lines, could this be possible?

    1)As a reward for some strategic leakage (which may actually have been authorized?) Ms B gets the aforementioned boost to her literary career.

    2)Petraeus gets to distance himself from the administration, confident he can shake the clay off his feet and march in the direction he wants to go.

    3) Some administration source or sources leak information to their political benefit

    The problem with part 3 is, which administration benefits?

     The Cantor [House majority administration] connection is bizarre.  Is it really unrelated, was it  contrived as a smoke screen or was someone Mata Hari-ing it and playing off both sides of the domestic partisan split? The timing of the General's resignation wouldn't seem to fit with there being a solely a right wing hand in motion.  And if it was the POTUS behind the leakage, well, he did get re-elected.  But it seems more intriguing that there might be some deft ambliodexterity  at work here.  

    Guess we are going to have to wait for the sequel, right?

    "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

    by jakewaters on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 05:43:32 AM PST

    •  Yeah... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      semiot, wasatch, Yasuragi, Sunspots

      To keep the diary a reasonable length I omitted some references to apparent discomfort within the Agency about Ms Broadwell's access to Petraeus at the time which is now being suggested.  Suffice it to say there is ambivalence on that point; that the FBI is the source of the investigation probably is indicative.  One can only wonder about the internal politics within the Agency and how that might align with domestic partisan interests.

      All I am suggesting at this point is that the published record of administration foreign policy leaks would suggest that attention to Petraeus' email account had any number of motivated actors.  If he was acting on behalf of the administration then a number of plausible scenarios come to mind.

      Given the public nature of the association between Ms Broadwell and General Petraeus at the time and from some of the scuttlebutt that has begun to emerge over the weekend it is hard to imagine that the possibility of an affair wasn't already considered by colleagues within the Agency and elsewhere months ago.

    •  Literary careed? As a biographer of famous men? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Cueing up to get the Broadwell treatment:

      Newt Gingrich
      Herman Cain
      John Ensign
      Mark Sanford
      Rudy Guiliani
      Donald Trump
      Larry Craig

      Ok, maybe not so much that last one.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 07:22:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ummm...what? There's a bizarre subtext here (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sassy, kkjohnson, realalaskan

    In the middle of this diary about Petraeus' affair and the players there, you make some leap first to lay out thinking that Petraeus might have about a too-close relationship with Israel, and the impact of the ongoing US-Palestinian on US' interests. Then, you start into still another tangent about a supposed Israeli false-flag intelligence operation involving Pakistani terrorists operating in Iran.

    What any of this has to do with Patraeus, or the affair, or any possible security breach there, I cannot fathom. In fact, this diary itself seems a bit of a false-flag operation. You start off on Patraeus and the possible motivations of the women involved, and then we're reading about Bush Administration concerns about Mossad operations?

    I'm not sure if you're just taking the opportunity to catch some eyeballs based on the Petraeus scandal to go off on a rant about Israel as a rogue agent hurting our interests. It certainly reads that way. We start with Petraeus' affiar, and then we have an anti-Zionist screed.

    The other alternative for the tangential discussion (and calling it tangential is probably too generous, since I don't see any contact point at all) is that you're implying that maybe Mossad has something to do with Petraeus' downfall?

    Either way, I find this rather offensive. The linkage isn't there in your diary, and it just seems like a random attempt to go on about how bad the Jews are.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

    by FischFry on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 06:16:08 AM PST

    •  Well... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, Glinda, semiot, Yasuragi

      The 2010 Perry article seems to have Petraeus' fingerprints on it; there are ample links to follow the ensuing controversy as the diary mentions.  That in itself makes an interesting departure point, given that Petraeus was beloved of the Right earlier in his career.  Whether Petraeus was the leaker the story is clearly about him and the temptation to suppose he was involved in leaking it is strong.

      As for the more scurrilous "false flag" leak I thought it was very interesting that the Commentary author hinted that Petraeus, now as CIA director, had a duty to investigate the leak and offered only three alternatives in not pursuing it; one of which was that he had leaked it himself.

      Given Petraeus' history as a person who knows how to manage the media it seemed instructive that he played a central role in this relationship, the one with Israel I mean, at such a critical time.

      But the real point is to cast a little scepticism on the circumstances surrounding the FBI investigation; given all the leaks and the public calling out of Petraeus by name in that instance it seemed a little rich that his email account wouldn't have received a bit of attention by any genuine investigation.  Remember that these administration leaks were an issue with Republicans at the time.

      I have no idea what the Israelis would have thought of it but it was pretty clear that neo-conservatives were bent out of shape as recently as January this year which puts the incident on a parallel time-line with the affair and the beginning of FBI involvement with the General's correspondence.

      In that context the FBI alerting Cantor seems relevant and perhaps revealing that there is more to this than a mere dalliance.

      •  First, Cantor alerted FBI, not other way around (0+ / 0-)

        That throwaway line is raising even more red flags for me about your motivation and the subtext you're laying out. Cantor is Jewish, of course. Are you suggesting that this is relevant? He was notified by the other woman, but there could  be any number of reasons for that. His position of leadership in the House comes to mind, but it might be as simple as he was the woman's congressman.

        The more you right, the more convinced I am that you are subtly implying some linkage here -- either with pro-Israel conservatives or the Mossad itself.

        There is literally no known factual basis for that supposition. Which makes your raising it very disturbing.

        Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

        by FischFry on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 06:59:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Write, not right (0+ / 0-)

          I meant to write this:

          The more you write, the more convinced I am that you are subtly implying some linkage here  -- either with pro-Israel conservatives or the Mossad itself
          It's funny the way the brain makes associations -- I type a word that sounds like the word I intended. You take a scandal that has to with an the extramarital affair of a general cum CIA director, and try to spin it into some nefarious zionist plot to discredit him.

          Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

          by FischFry on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 07:03:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Really? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wasatch, Yasuragi
          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.
          Sounds like an FBI employee notified Cantor in late October, well after we are given to believe the investigation was conducted, probably after Petraeus was interviewed by the FBI if the rough time-line being reported is accurate.  Not sure I understand your point otherwise.
    •  I, as well, found it difficult to tie some of this (0+ / 0-)

      together coherently.
      However, I did not sense any anti-zion slant, but I'm not sensitized to look for it.
      All in all, the Diary took some turns that made it less coherent, but very thought provoking.

      "If you tell the truth, you won't have to remember anything", Mark Twain

      by Cruzankenny on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 06:51:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It Seems I Should Have... (0+ / 0-)

        Said that at a time when a number of leaks on national security matters which seemed to be promoting narratives favourable to the Obama administration, and which were publicly deplored by Republicans who demanded that they be properly investigated, it seems a bit rich for the FBI to claim they just 'stumbled' into Petraeus' personal email account.  

        Especially where everyone seems to agree that General Petaeus has a finely tuned sense of handling the media and there have been apparent past leaks about Petraeus or accusations of past leaks by Petraeus made publicly without emphatic rebuttal or denial.  

  •  Interesting diary, but I don't see the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sassy, realalaskan

    relevance of the speculation about Israel.

    I'd like to see Cantor grilled under oath about why he himself didn't inform the White House.

    And I'd like to see many people from the FBI grilled about why they'd talk to Cantor but not the White House.

    As if any of that is true.

    I don't believe any of this story so far.  The MSM is spinning and spinning, and everybody is treating rank unsourced speculation as hard facts.

  •  Here's a new wrinkle.... (7+ / 0-)

    Woodward just on Meet the Press reporting that he has been told that Petreaus testimony on Benghazi would have been HELPFUL to the administration. That Petreaus has such detailed records of the events and that his fact finding was very thorough. So apparently, the implication is that it is to the Republican's advantage that Petreaus NOT tesitfy. So what does this suggest about Cantor's "whistleblower." The plot thickens.

  •  Broadwell's career? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, semiot, Sunspots

    I'm pretty sure that it's over, at least in military and national security circles, both in and outside government. She will certainly write a book about this and go on the lecture circuit. But no one will ever hire her again to do security-related work.

    The CTer in me is wondering what's really going on here. Clearly, it's more than just a top government official caught with his pants down. Again.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 07:15:17 AM PST

    •  I have been saying for a few days (0+ / 0-)

      Broadwell presents as she has a histrionic personality disorder. So it was not a surprise to me that she sent threatening emails. If I can figure that out military psych people can figure that out as well.

      •  Why do you say that? (0+ / 0-)

        The only time I've heard her speak is when she talked about her book on CSPAN earlier this year, and while she seemed young and inexperienced, I didn't see any obvious mental problems with her (not that I'm a MH professional). I haven't seen her DS appearance. Was she presenting symptoms on it?

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 07:31:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  All foreign countries seek to gain classified (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nebraskablue, realalaskan

    information by compromising high officials in the United States government.  The question is whether or not Paula Broadwell, or the other unidentified woman, sought to compromise David Petraeus at the behest of a foreign government?  And, since Paula Broadwell is alleged to have studied Arabic in Jordan at one time, a second question is whether Broadwell had contacts with Jordanians or other Middle East nationalities whose interests are incompatible with those of the United States?  A third question would be whether Paula Broadwell's Middle East contacts include any foreign leaders, such as Benjamin Netanyahu who actively interfered in the U.S. 2012 elections, i.e., by making political ads for Romney?  A fourth question would be whether Netanyahu's political support for Romney might have led Netanyahu to seek to aid Romney in other ways, i.e, a false flag operation in Libya that led to the massacre of the four Americans in Benghazi?  And the final question is, was anyone in the Romney campaign or in the Republican Party associated with Paula Broadwell or with the other unidentified woman?  I am just raising questions that should be asked by the various Congressional oversight committees, particularly given the fact that Paula Broadwell actually threatened the other unidentified woman over what appears to have been Broadwell's concern over her continuing access to Petraeus.

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