Petraeus Debunks Petraeus Conspiracy Theories
Ever since David Petraeus resigned in the wake of a sex scandal that pretty much everyone seemed to find shocking, various people on the right have engaged in some pretty bizarre speculation in order to come up with a theory that somehow ties his resignation in with what happened in Benghzai on September 11th. Most immediately, the theory was that the Administration didn’t want Petraeus to testify, but as I noted at the time Petraeus’s resignation would not prevent Congress from issuing a subpoena compelling him to appear and give testimony regarding his personal knowledge regarding the incident, even though he would not be speaking for the CIA. The fact that Petraeus is now agreeing to testify voluntarily would seem to punch a very big hole in these theories, but it’s not stopping people like Fox News Legal Correspondent Andrew Napolitano from coming up with a conspiracy theory of his own:
We now know that the existence of a personal relationship between Broadwell and Petraeus had been suspected and whispered about by his senior-level colleagues and by his personal staff in the military, who worried that it might become publicly known, since before the time that he came to run the CIA.
We also know that when he was nominated to run the CIA, that nomination was preceded by a two-month FBI-conducted background check that likely would have revealed the existence of his relationship with Broadwell. The FBI agents conducting that background check surely would have seen his visitor logs while he commanded our troops and would have interviewed his military colleagues and regular visitors and those colleagues who knew him well and worked with him every day, and thus learned about his personal life. That’s their job.
And that information would have been reported immediately to President Obama and to the Senate Intelligence Committee, prior to Petraeus’ formal nomination and prior to his Senate confirmation hearing.
In the modern era, office-holders with forgiving spouses simply do not resign from powerful jobs because of a temporary, non-criminal, consensual adult sexual liaison, as the history of the FDR, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, and Clinton presidencies attest. So, why is Petraeus different? Someone wants to silence him.
Petraeus told the Senate and House Intelligence Committees on September 14, 2012, that the mob attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, three days earlier, was a spontaneous reaction of Libyans angered over a YouTube clip some believed insulted the prophet Muhammad. He even referred to that assault—which resulted in the murders of four Americans, now all thought to have been CIA agents—as a “flash mob.” His scheduled secret testimony this week before the same congressional committees will produce a chastened, diminished Petraeus who will be confronted with a mountain of evidence contradicting his September testimony, perhaps exposing him to charges of perjury or lying to Congress and causing substantial embarrassment to the president.
It’s obvious that someone was out to silence Petraeus. Who could believe the government version of all this? The same government that wants us to believe that FBI agents innocently and accidentally discovered the Petraeus/Broadwell affair a few months ago and confronted Petraeus with his emails a few weeks ago is a cauldron of petty jealousies. From the time of its creation in 1947, the CIA has been a bitter rival of the FBI. The two agencies are both equipped with lethal force, they both often operate outside the law, and they are each seriously potent entities. Their rivalry was tempered by federal laws that until 2001 kept the CIA from operating in the U.S. and the FBI from operating outside the U.S.
Well, no Judge, it really isn’t so obvious. First of all, we don’t know what General Petraeus is going to testify to when he appears before the Intelligence Committees, so the assertion that he’s going to contradict what the Obama Administration has been saying about the attack is mere supposition with nothing to support it. Second, while it does appear that the information that has been uncovered in the past eight weeks does indeed contradict what was initially stated about the attack in the days immediately after it, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re talking a perjury case here. It depends what intelligence was available to Petraeus back when he testified initially and what’s become available to him in the weeks after the attack. Finding out new information six or eight weeks after the fact isn’t perjury.
The second part of the conspiracy theory that makes no sense is the idea that the purpose was to silence Petraeus. If that was the case, then forcing him to resign from the CIA and making him a private citizen answerable to nobody was a pretty dumb way to go about doing it. If there really were something about the Benghazi story that the Administration was hiding, then it strikes me that Petraeus now has little if any incentive to keep it quiet, and little to fear if he did speak out. After all, what can they do to him now, especially now that his affair has been revealed and he’s left the CIA? If this was a plot to silence Petraeus is was woefully ill-conceived.
(CNN) – David Petraeus’ resignation was not linked to the September attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and he never passed classified information to the woman he was having an affair with, the former CIA director told an HLN journalist.
Petraeus, in conversations with HLN’s Kyra Phillips, confirmed to her what his supporters have been saying about ongoing scandal.
“In our first conversation,” Phillips said Thursday, Petraeus “had told me he had engaged in something dishonorable. He sought to do the honorable thing in response — and that was to come forward. He was very clear that he screwed up terribly … even felt fortunate to have a wife who is far better than he deserves.”
Phillips, who knows Petraeus from several interviews, initially reached out to him to express shock at the news of the affair that derailed a highly decorated career in the military and CIA.
Among other things, Petraeus said he has not talked with Paula Broadwell, his biographer and woman he admitted an affair with, since the scandal broke..
“He insisted to me that he has never passed classified information to Paula Broadwell,” Phillips said. “He said this has nothing to do with Benghazi, and he wants to testify. He will testify.”
Petraeus is scheduled to testify Friday before the House Intelligence Committee, and a Senate aide confirmed that he also will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee that day.
The former CIA chief didn’t try to persuade his bosses to let him keep his job once he admitted the affair, and “has maintained to me all along this was a personal failing,” Phillips said.
So there you have it straight from the General. Do you believe him, or do you believe the conspiracy theories?