We are beginning to make some sense of the discharge of CIA Director David Petraeus. The general resigned from his command on Election Day, 2012, for reasons that, on the surface, don’t seem to warrant such action.
Petraeus, at a youthful and fit 60, confirmed suspicion of an extramarital affair with his personal biographer, 40 year old Paula Broadwell. Ms. Broadwell is an expert on terrorism, and a research associate at Harvard. She was graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1995. She is currently a reserve major in the U.S. Army, having been called to duty three times since the September 11 attacks on the United States. She worked in conjunction with the Washington Post preparing the Petraeus biography. Ms. Broadwell is married, with three children. The dalliance came to the attention of the FBI when Broadwell became angered with a Petraeus family friend, the socially prominent Jill Kelley, wife of Tampa surgeon Dr. Scott Kelley. Broadwell was convinced that Mrs. Kelley and the general were becoming emotionally involved and she sent emails to the wealthy socialite, warning her away.
In following up on a complaint by Jill Kelley, the FBI discovered material that suggested that Major Broadwell had unauthorized access to highly classified documents and information. At one point in October, Broadwell spoke to a gathering at the University of Denver, and told of Libyan militants being held prisoner in a CIA annex. The CIA has no authority to hold prisoners. Broadwell suggested that the September 11 attack on the embassy in Benghazi was carried out by Libyan militia in an effort to recover these prisoners. “Now, I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but, uh, the CIA annex had actually taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. …so that’s still being vetted.” The unspoken allegation was that Petraeus was aware of these illegally held prisoners. There has been a suggestion by some that the revelation, true or not, was a punishment to Petraeus for the supposed Kelley affair.
The email correspondence between Petraeus and Broadwell was not direct. Instead, it was routed through a third email account, where messages were stored in a “draft” queue for the recipient to read.
Jill Kelley, the woman who may have been coming between Petraeus and Broadwell, was having correspondence with the top American commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen. The details of a possible romantic link between the two are still to come forth. The FBI now has 20,000 plus pages of communication between the two, mainly during the years 2010 – 2012. Kelley is a volunteer social liaison in Tampa, and frequently hosts dinner parties in which the generals and their families take part. Kelley is now under investigation for “inappropriate communications.” General Allen is in Washington facing Senate confirmation to be commander of U.S. European command and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. Defense secretary Leon Panetta told media that the nomination to that post is now being delayed, and the president has agreed to the delay.
Petraeus was graduated from West Point and married Holly Knowlton, daughter of General William A. Knowlton, the Superintendent of West Point at the time. Petraeus is well known and widely respected for his leadership in the war on Iraq. He took over command there in 2003, when a great deal of focus was on Mosul. He had 20,000 troops and maintained peace in that region. He altered the policy there from a destructive military presence, to a more effective “police-style” presence. The soldiers were respectful of the Iraqi citizens. It is said they went from “knocking down doors” to “knocking on doors.” In Afghanistan he took a similar approach. On August 1, 2010, he issued a directive calling for “disciplined use of force in partnership with Afghan Security Forces” regarding the Afghanistan insurgency and the attempts by the Taliban to overthrow the American-recognized legitimate government.
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