Former aides to Petraeus, who led the U.S. military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, said they “never in a million years” would’ve believed that Petraeus would risk his storied career in such a fashion. But he did. CIA representatives confirmed the authenticity of the letter to Danger Room. “He feels that he screwed up. He did a dishonorable thing and needed to try to do the honorable thing,” one former confidant says in an e-mail….“This had nothing to do with Benghazi or relationship with the White House — which by the way was excellent — or anything else for that matter,” the aide tells Danger Room. “Just his flawed behavior.”
Whoever the third party is, this is no ordinary affair. A resignation would not have been offered or accepted unless the “other woman” comrpomised Petraeus’ security clearance in a very obvious way – we’re done with the “honey pot” era where just having had an affair meant senior officials could be blackmailed into aquiesence by an unscrupolous party, as admitting an affair on its own is no longer a bar to high office.
The DC establishment may be gobsmacked by this but I have to say I am not. In 2008, a military source came to me with a story about Petraeus having an affair while in Iraq in 2005, while he was in charge of training the Iraqi security forces. The name I was given would present a very definite compromise to Petraeus’ current security clearances and I believe that person may be the one referred to in Petraeus’ current resignation (Update: obviously I was wrong about that last bit – but the date of the FBI investigation, starting in September 2011, might fit as a reason for that investigation). Unfortunately the source refused to go public and I felt the story was unsupportable without his public testimony, so I never published it. Oh, and I was assured by insiders that David Petraeus would never cheat on his beloved wife Holly. Hmmm.
But as to Petraeus doing the “honorable thing” – that would have been not having an affair in the first place, ending one relationship before he began another.
Update: Rightwing nutjobs are having none of it, screaming that Petraeus’ resignation must signal that the man who has been touted as a possible future Republican presidetial nominee is falling on his sword to cover up what happened in Benghazi for Obama. That is, that Petraeus’ public, humiliating concession to an affair is made up. Sheesh.
Update 2: A name has been floated by Fred Kaplan at Slate and others.
Richard Engel: Petraeus being investigated to see if Paula Broadwell had access to his emails and classified information
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 9, 2012
Broadwell is a reporter for the Daily Beast and author of a book on Petraeus. This is not the same name that was given to me as the mistress in an affair Petraeus was allegedly in in 2005/06. Serial adulterer? In January, a profile by her local Bismarck Tribune had the lede “She put her doctoral dissertation and her personal life on hold to tell the story of a man who rewrote the rules for modern warfare” and continued “It was Broadwell’s belief that firsthand experience with Petraeus was the only way to tell his story. Broadwell went on runs with Petraeus, followed him to his twice-weekly visits to the battlefield, watched as he worked with U.S. and coalition politicians and lawmakers and observed how he handled the burden of command and the tragedies of war.”
The story was accompanied by this picture:
Broadwell is married to a radiologist, Dr. Scott Broadwell, and the two have two young boys. The AP says the affair was “discovered in the course of an FBI investigation”.