Poll: Do you think Gen. David Petraeus made the right decision to step down as CIA director?
Updated 11:00 a.m.: According to news reports, the family friend targeted by Gen. David Petraeus' former mistress is also involved in a separate incident involving another high-level military official. The Department of Defense has launched an investigation into tens of thousands of "inappropriate communications" between the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, and Jill Kelley of Tampa, Fla. In addition, sketchy details have emerged about the FBI agent who initially helped Kelley report Broadwell's harassing emails to authorities. This headline in The New Yorker sums up the bizarre nature of the CIA director's downfall: "Enter shirtless F.B.I. Agent, Followed by General Allen."
As the plot thickens, participate in our poll below.
We've had a few days to process Washington, D.C. latest political scandal, and yet it's still incomprehensible to many. How could someone as accomplished, committed and capable as Gen. David Petraeus disappoint us so? All humans are fallible, obviously. Doesn't make it sting any less when a person in a position of trust admits he let his guard down at a time when he needed it most.
Petraeus, the nation's top spy and the former leader of U.S. missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, resigned his CIA post last Friday following an FBI investigation that inadvertently revealed he'd been engaged in an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. The agency had been looking into a series of alarming emails sent by Broadwell to a potential romantic rival. (The recipient of those messages, Jill Kelley, has said she and her family are "friends" with the Petraeus family.)
There's still a lot we don't know, and I would encourage the public to take a step back and be leery of any insinuations out there that this sordid personal failing is related to the very serious attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The facts will eventually come to light in both matters, hopefully on separate occasions.
So far, the FBI has indicated that Petraeus' involvement with Broadwell did not breach security. According to this news report, FBI and CIA leaders will meet with congressional leaders on Wednesday to discuss the former director's conduct. A congressional hearing on Thursday will center on the CIA's involvement in the Libya attack that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. The deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Michael Morell, is scheduled to step in and testify in Petraeus' place.
In the mean time, we'd like to gauge reader reaction to this political scandal, which could have serious implications for the CIA and its next leader. Participate in our poll below:
Achenblog by Joel Achenbach
Postman On Politics