November 9th, 2012

Petraeus resigns

He says it’s because he cheated on his wife.

But he was due to testify on Benghazi in six days, and now he won’t, at least not immediately (apparently they could still subpoena him later).

This smells exceedingly fishy. I have a bunch of theories, but don’t know if any of them are right. And I have a question: why would an extramarital affair be grounds for resignation? Since he’s head of the CIA—was it with a spy? (That’s a joke—I think). And he can’t be blackmailed if he’s already fessed up, can he?

More from Instapundit.

And I’m sure it’s just a sheer coincidence that all of this is coming out right after the election.

UPDATE 5:56 PM: Is this true? Dunno, but it contains several unintentional points of humor [emphasis mine]:

The woman with whom Gen. David Petraeus was having an affair is Paula Broadwell, the author of a recent hagiographic book about him, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus

It had long been rumored that something was going on between Petraeus and Broadwell. Her book, co-written with Vernon Loeb, is widely regarded as a valentine to the general. When she was embedded with him in Afghanistan, they went on frequent 5-mile runs together.

Broadwell is quite an attractive woman, by the way. More here. She appears to be in her late 30s. Petaeus is sixty (his birthday was the day after Election Day).

And this, from a comment at Ace’s:

More importantly – our CIA Director can’t even pull off an affair.

UPDATE 7:30 PM: and is there anybody—and I mean anybody—on the face of the earth who thinks the timing is coincidental? Petreaus had a small window of opportunity to get this in. It had to be after the election (although preferably not the day after), but before the slated testimony. Not many degrees of freedom there.

UPDATE: 10:46 PM: Paul Mirengoff offers some theories:

…[T]he confession could have been an attempt to preempt the theory that his resignation is Benghazigate related — it provides an alternative explanation. Second, the confession eliminates the opportunity for others (such as folks in the White House) to try to influence his future conduct, including potential statements and/or testimony about Benghazi (his departure from the CIA doesn’t preclude Congress from having him testify)…

JOHN adds: …[I]t is possible that the Obama administration has been blackmailing Petraeus to make him join in their deceptions about Benghazi. He may have announced the affair to eliminate any further possibility of blackmail, with the intention of telling the truth now that he has resigned from the administration. I think that is highly unlikely, but it seems to fit the facts that we know reasonably well.

PAUL adds: Yes. Petraeus might have admitted publicly to the extramarital affair because he knew its existence would be revealed in any case. However, it’s unlikely that anyone who wanted him to resign would have revealed this information once he, in fact, resigned. Perhaps someone wanted him to remain as head of the CIA, but in a compromised position, and Petraeus was unwilling to do so.

61 Responses to “Petraeus resigns”

  1. n.n Says:

    When we start talking about blackmail, then a host of other extortive tactics become plausible. Not the least of which are mortal threats. It happened to our fellow Americans in Benghazi. It happened to our fellow Americans in Afghanistan. Who knows what people motivated by ambitions of power and wealth and without a constraining conscience are capable of executing. History provides evidence that there are no limits.

    Ugh! I hate conspiracy theories. Perhaps it will be confirmed and the principals exposed or, more likely, mutually assured destruction will lead to the sacrifice of lesser actors.

  2. southpaw Says:

    Neo – please share a couple. This is an interesting way for a decorated general to cover his butt.

  3. M J R Says:

    They’re sure not wasting any time installing and solidifying the authoritarian regime. Will it be a thousand-year reich?

    “I’ll have a lot more flexibility after the election.” Yeah, you betcha Barry.

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    southpaw: well, they’re not based on much. But it may be that Obama wanted him to not testify, and/or wanted him out. Or it may be that Petraeus was being asked to be the fall guy, and he didn’t want to do it (or being set up to be the fall guy, or some such thing). I think the news was purposely held back till after the election, and that some in the friendly MSM probably knew and cooperated fully.

    Or it could be even more Byzantine than that. There’s a report that Broadwell was trying to get into his classified emails. Don’t know what that’s about, or whether it’s even true; she was in intelligence herself in the past.

  5. Katie Says:

    Ley’s see
    Holder—-Fast and Furious (still considering) (Did I hear Rice might take his place)
    Petraes— Benghazi.
    Clinton- Bengahzi (ok rumor had it she was ‘retiring’ anyway) –Napolitano possibly taking her place. (Napolitano has no real scandal attached–bit does that mean she hasn’t been deeply involved–maybe she does her ‘job’, as defined by Obama well)

    Obama cleaning house, an getting people in who are obedient. and less likely to get caught?

  6. George Pal Says:

    “he’s always been seen as a straight shooter”

    Therein lies the modern scandal.

  7. Sam L. Says:

    Abso-positively-lutely! How other could it possibly be?

    I mean, I ask you?

    (My cynicism knows no bounds. It has lifted great weights in practice.)

    And yes, attractive is the word, and I say very is the modifier.

  8. huan Says:

    in the military at least, an unstable personal life put you at risk for black mail and such, thus degrades your military intelligence/security clearance. i think you drop two levels with even a divorce.

    so yeah, i can see an affair as ground for stepping down. why if it is already public? maybe such behaviour puts him at risks for other behavior that could make him vulnerable.

    just my two cents

  9. rsb Says:

    Can we get Bill Clinton to retroactively resign the presidency for the same reason?

  10. rickl Says:

    What an amazing coincidence.

  11. kcom Says:

    The “More here” link (from “Inspired Woman Magazine” no less) is already dead. I assume they didn’t like the attention and killed it. Or did you make a typo, Neo?

    Update: I searched the site and there is still an article about her on there at this link. Is that the same one you saw, Neo?

  12. rickl Says:

    Ooh. Good comment at my PJM link:

    10. ari
    They had affairs with severed horse-heads?

  13. Roman Says:

    This is a tough one. As a military man, he did the honorable thing. For a Democrat politician, an affair would be resume building. I think much more will come out in time.

    In the mid 60’s, while stationed in England, I was engaged for a short while to a Brit. I was told in no uncertain terms: I would loose my Top Secret Clearance if I went throught with the wedding.

  14. Oldflyer Says:

    Sad, and bizarre timing. There will be a firestorm of speculation, but we may never know the real story. Of one thing I am certain, there is more than meets the eye at the moment.

    Just heard on Bret Baire that the FBI was involved some months ago. FBI involvement, on what grounds? No answers to that. If the FBI was involved, and it was a national security issue, why do we learn of it three days after the election. Let me guess.

  15. neo-neocon Says:

    kcom: yest, that’s the article. I’ll try to fix the link.

  16. huan Says:

    i am disappointed in Petraeus though for having this affair. more than ever we need men and women of honor and character in positions of leadership and responsibility. and now we may never know the truth about benghazi.

  17. chuck Says:

    What huan said. The head of the CIA also needs to set an example. However, I think it is mandatory that he testify to congress on Benghazi, otherwise the rumours will never stop.

    And speaking of the cascade of bad, I find myself contemplating finding a temperate spot on about two acres of good tillable soil. Just in case things don’t go well. I haven’t thought along those lines before.

  18. Armchair pessimist Says:

    It’s the preemptive confession that smells mightily. He might have tactfully disappeared in a cloud of standard boilerplate. Who, what is he protecting & why?

  19. Gringo Says:

    I am reminded of what Senator Clinton said to General Petraeus in 2007 regarding his testimony about the Surge.

    “You have been made the de facto spokesmen for what many of us believe to be a failed policy” in Iraq, Clinton said. “Despite what I view is your rather extraordinary efforts in your testimony both yesterday and today, I think that the reports that you provide to us really require a willing suspension of disbelief.”

    It would take a “willing suspension of disbelief” to believe that an affair is the real reason- not to mention a valid reason- for General Petraeus’s not testifying about Benghzai.

    Failed policy, anyone? [History shows that the Surge was successful, contrary to what then-Senator Clinton professed.]

    My guess is that General Petraeus was directed to fall on his sword, and refused to do

  20. neo-neocon Says:

    huan: there is absolutely no valid reason I can think of that this should keep him from testifying. What’s one thing got to do with the other?

  21. huan Says:

    if he was forced to resign so that he no longer has the clearance to review documents or cite documents to support of his testanomy?

    the timing of it all is suspcious

  22. texexec Says:

    “My guess is that General Petraeus was directed to fall on his sword, and refused to do [so]”

    Sounds plausible…he should be subpoenaed to testify before the congressional committee.

  23. carl in atlanta Says:

    I don’t know, y’all. This makes me think about the “Innocence of Muslims” video coverup, the Regime cum MSM tag-team coverup of Benghazi and the overall surreal weirdness of the past two months. The following images/scenes are now dancing through my head:

    Severed horse head in beds. Rommel’s “suicide”. The Spy who Came in from the Cold. The Bourne Ultimatum. Romans soldiers falling on their swords. All kinds of weird thoughts.

    Sorry General (and Mr. President): The explanation for this resignation just doesn’t pass the smell test….

  24. parker Says:

    When I first heard of the resignation on the radio I assumed he was resigning to put some distance between himself and Benghazi. However, I don’t care about the reason for his resignation. He still needs to testify and unless the House republicans are going to roll over and pee like a puppy before alpha dog BHO, he will still receive a subpoena and be put under oath.

    I want to know what went on in the situation room 9/11/12. I want to know minute by minute where the POTUS was during the entire 7 hours of the assault on the Benghazi consulate. I want to know what advise/options Donilon and Panetta provided POTUS. I want to know what HRC knew about the security in Libya leading up to the attack. 4 dead and I want answers, not distraction, smoke, and MSM complicity. I want to be glued to C-Span for many days watching careers and reputations destroyed, and heads rolling.

  25. carl in atlanta Says:

    That’s horse heads of course. Sorry.

    And I was typing about falling on swords whilst texexec’s was going up…

    Great minds think alike (or at the very least: Good eyes can see what’s there).

  26. cornflour Says:

    I’d bet that only a few people will ever know the full explanation for this.

    Petraeus has already lied to Congress about Benghazi, so if this is anything more than what’s being publicly broadcast, representatives of either Obama or Hillary Clinton must have told Petraeus to tell Congress some very serious lies — something he was unwilling to do. He’s then threatened with exposure of the romantic affair, so he resigns and goes public. Leverage lost.

    Obama responds by removing Petraeus from the list of those scheduled to testify. At this point, the Congressional Committee would gain more leverage by obtaining information from Petraeus off the record, which they’d accomplish by threatening him with subpoena.

    Didn’t Ross Thomas write a novel like this?

    Seriously, I have no idea what happened, but the less we know, the more we can speculate.

  27. Don Carlos Says:

    cornflour’s theory makes the best sense I’ve seen.

  28. csimon Says:

    Gringo (and many other commenters with great points) I think you summarize very well, and your “guess” is the same as mine (and I believe, similar to what neo suspects).

    Just listened to the news and it was mentioned that the affair probably happened in Afghanistan where this woman was with Petraeus working on the book for nearly or over a year. OK. Say it’s so. He’s been at the CIA for more than a year now…

    As Jack Welch made it known that he believed the jobs nos. released 1 month before election — after 48 mos. of higher unemployment rates — was an amazing coincidence, I have to say, that the timing of the “resignation” 2 days after the election (Pres. took 24 hrs. to decide whether to accept it supposedly…or maybe to consult with lawyers re: could Congress still subpoena him re: Ben Ghazi, how the Administration would spin this all) is another marvelous coincidence. Especially since Petraeus was supposed to testify in 3 days before the Congressional investigation. But now he’s not! And he doesn’t have to says the Administration…because he is now a private citizen.

    John Bolton says otherwise, and the the House Committee still has subpoena power over him… (too many quotes to cite but he’s appearing on Greta tonite @ 10:00 AM if you want to hear it)

    Obama and Co. make the world scarier and scarier to me. And our country….fuhgeddaboutit!

    How many scandals have been buried….oh, since the REAL Obama connections to people like Ayres, and 20 yrs. in the pews of the racist Rev. Wright, have bubbled to the surface…and then disappeared?

    Scandals smothered, distracted, obfuscated, dropped down rabbit holes never to see light of day…
    (Can anyone still see “Fast and Furious?” How long can the Administration stall Benghazi until it at least becomes “old news” and no longer important to the folks? (Evidently, they’ve done a great job so far considering he was re-elected Tues — dispite, zero or hegative/harmful accomplishments that a clear majority of the electorate opposed, unemployment rates that haven’t budged (except precisely 4 weeks before election), the fast-approaching fiscal cliff which will put us over the edge (meantime Obama’s taking a trip — he can blame lack of progress on the obstructive Republicans when he gets back).

    Oh, and by the way, do anyone see Obama’s latest campaign rally today, where he clearly interpreted the election as a clear mandate … to do things HIS way!

  29. parker Says:

    “I’d bet that only a few people will ever know the full explanation for this.”

    No! N-O. If the House republicans are not willing to pursue this until we the people learn what the POTUS knew and when, and what actions (or lack of) he ordered his subordinates to take; we, as a nation, are the USSA. This shall not be ignored and white washed. Otherwise, its game over.

  30. vanderleun Says:

    On the other hand, as we learn in the holy book of Clinton, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  31. parker Says:

    “… sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

    A cigar remains a cigar despite any changes in aroma due to a temporary change in storage locations. No one died, let alone 4 pleading for assistance, because of a cigar. Benghazi is not an affair with a chubby intern. It is not Solyndra cronyism with campaign bundlers, its not attempting to subvert the laws of Honduras. Its 4 dead and they were left behind.

  32. vanderleun Says:

    Well obviously. And everyone here knows it. But what we learn in the last election, and as neo has often written, is that most people…. by far and away most people, do not know and do not pay any attention to politics.

    And why do they no pay any attention to politics.

    Because it is disgusting and unremitting and endless and the administration depends upon it continuing in that regard.

  33. causauk Says:

    Huan: A divorce does not lower your security clearance in and of itself. If the divorce has a serious impact on your finances, then it will impact your security clearance.

    The article says they were probing his gmail account usage. So he was already under review. Then they discover the affair. That’s two strikes.

    His security clearance has been reviewed at least once every five years for probably twenty to thirty years. He’s maybe even been polygraphed at some point.

    During those security reviews, they would have interviewed his neighbors. He probably lived on a military base for a large chunk of his career. There’s a lot deployments. People get lonely.

    My bet is this isn’t the first time he cheated. And at the very least someone probably gossiped about him cheating during one of his reviews. Put that tidbit of gossip together with this known instance. You have a pattern. Any bit of similar gossip hoovered up in a review now seems more plausible. He’s now a known security risk.

    He isn’t innocent until proven guilty in this world. And they aren’t worried about him being blackmailed. He shared email access with one lover. How many other lovers has he shared his email account with?

    Paranoid you say. Quite, but they’re paid to be paranoid. Even worse she’s a journalist. Does our boy have a thing for quill pushers? I wonder if any of them ever wrote for Murdoch.

  34. RandomThoughts Says:

    Timing is indeed everything.

    Sadly, Vanderleun is correct though; far too many people don’t know nor care about politics, not Benghazi F&F or anything else other than what they’re going to get from the government. They’re probably unaware of whom Petraeus is, much less what he knows and could testify about.

  35. gcotharn Says:

    “@baseballcrank: Petraeus to invoke the Clinton Rule that cheating on your wife exempts you from having to tell the truth under oath.”

  36. parker Says:

    “… far too many people don’t know nor care about politics, not Benghazi F&F or…”

    F&F can be white (racial overtone unintended) washed to look like a poorly conceived and administered sting operation that (pun intended) went south. Benghazi is utterly different. 4 dead and what did POTUS know and what did he do in response?. If Benghazi is swept under the rug we no longer live in The USA, we live in the USSA. If Benghazi is swept under the rug we enter the rickl zone. All pretenses to the rule of law have been cut down and no one will stand in the wind that will blow. It will lead eventually to the day when we load and the safety is your finger.

  37. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Is it just suspicious ol’ me, or are there a lot of things moving under the surface here and all related to Benghazi and our military—General Ham, head of AFRICOM, abruptly resigns, the head of a carrier battle group under him is abruptly relieved of command due to supposed “lapses in professional judgement,” and now Petreus, who was supposed to testify about Benghazi before a Congressional committee next week, also abruptly resigns.

    Do I believe in coincidences, not that much.

  38. neo-neocon Says:

    parker: I think we reached that point quite some time ago. As I wrote here, even if the House impeached Obama, the Democratic Senate would never convict, “and that would be true even if it were proven that Obama flew to Benghazi and murdered the ambassador and the others himself.”

    What’s more, even if it never comes to any of that, I am firmly convinced that, whatever wrongdoing the hearings might reveal on the part of this administration, the majority of the American people don’t care. This administration has been so emboldened by the MSM’s cooperation and coverups, and it has also discovered how to win elections despite a lousy record by appealing to special interest groups, so it realizes that nothing holds it in check. Benghazi will either be swept under the rug or ignored. I have come to think that that most people are not paying attention, and even if they were, they wouldn’t care as long as they get their free contraception or whatever it is they’re really interested in. A corrupt and/or distracted people gets a corrupt government.

    Do I sound bitter? You bet. I would like to be pleasantly surprised to find I’m wrong about this. But unfortunately I think I’m right.

  39. Charles Says:

    sigh, if only there were a rock I could go live under . . .

  40. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Wolla Dalbo, thanks for mentioning the other two players close to Benghazi that have “been relieved.” Coincidence? I think not.

  41. Ann Says:

    Well, this from Charles Krauthammer cheered me up a wee bit:

    There is no way that this is going to get in the way of the Benghazi story coming out, and in an odd way, and sort of a discouraging way, now that the story is attached to a sex scandal, it will become a story that will be pursued by the media as were not pursued before.

    They were holding off I think to protect Obama before and also perhaps out of a lack of interest. But just given the nature of our journalism, it will now become the hottest story around and you can be sure that even the mainstream papers which did not show any interest whatsoever in this story up to and into the election are going to get on it now and it will become — it will unravel.

    Awful hoping that a sex scandal might do the trick, but…

  42. Lorenz Gude Says:

    Being familiar with the psychological process of projection I have had the suspicion that the monumental nature of the things the left accused Bush of, were in fact a warning of how the left worked. Fast and furious demonstrates how far they go to try to push their agenda. It is actually doing in a small way what they accused Bush of doing to the Twin Towers. What a tangled we we weave. BTW I usually agree with Krauthhammer, but I think he is optimistic on this one. It will take a concerted effort by both Congress and the blogoshere to get what is going on here out. I think Obama is untouchable. Neither impeachment, nor the politics of personal destruction will work on our pre canonized saint.

  43. Gary Rosen Says:

    “Ugh! I hate conspiracy theories.”

    Me too. But there is something about this administration …

  44. D S Craft Says:

    Oh, this is a nice soap opera to take our minds off of the fraud that took place on Nov. 6. Let’s move on, quickly.

  45. Pat Says:

    It looks like the affair was discovered when he was being vetted for the CIA position. So, the Obama administration had a hold over him. They were using it to pressure him in their cover-up of Benghazi and he must have decided to come clean. Pity he didn’t do it before the election.

  46. carl in atlanta Says:

    Assuming that Issa, et. al., will now subpoena him to testify individually, I won’t be surprised if he invokes his non-disclosure covenants in addition to the 5th Amendment.

    I’ll be pleasantly surprised if these expectations prove to be incorrect and that he has resigned and announced the affair in order to free himself to be able to testify to “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”. However, I don’t think he will.

    Somehow they’ve gotten him to agree to fall on his sword…..

  47. GaryP Says:

    The new rule:
    The State always wins.
    Accept your assigned role, you are no longer in charge of your life.
    Don’t agitate for change. The change has already occurred.
    Don’t expect the truth to save us. The ‘truth’ is decided behind closed doors and dutifully reported by those assigned to tell us what to think.
    Don’t think about the future. It will be what our betters decide it will be. You will just have to cope, or not.
    Embrace your servitude. Being a good drone is not much, but it is something and it is the best outcome left to you.

  48. ArmyMom Says:

    D S Craft – Exactly!! All is going as planned.

  49. rickl Says:

    Heh. Personally, I prefer the Twilight Zone. Those were just stories…

  50. Papa Dan Says:

    Well, if Paula Broadwell is a true vamp, it will all come out in her next steamy bestseller, Benghazi and all.

  51. Frank P Says:

    Just to let you know that here in the UK we’ve been doing our own speculating over this, despite a major preoccupation with our own sex scandals. We do care about our transatlantic cousins y’know:

  52. Frank P Says:

    btw thanks to Gerard Vanderleun for the heads up

  53. physicsguy Says:

    A bit off topic, but this might be good for a little humor, except when you realize this person also votes.

  54. NeoConScum Says:


    I have wished out loud(and written recently here at n-neo’s site)post-Benghazi and pre-election that General Petraeus would resign due to the cover-up and dishonor of the White House and State Dept. and their–by silence–letting his people(and, thus, him)HANG by inference. His resignation and statement accompanying same would–I had it–make very clear that he was Honor Bound to leave CIA due to White House lies, cover-ups, dishonoring our men in harms way, etc. NOT in public detail, of course, but VERY MUCH by inference. I took–and still take–the blunt 2 or 3 sentence statement from a “CIA Spokesman” prior to the election that seemed to say: DON’T LOOK AT US FOR BLAME. WE WERE NOT LISTENED TO.

    N-Neo: You see where I’m going here, do you not? David Petraeus is one of my True Heroes and I absolutely believe him to be a Major Warrior of Vast Honor. While the ‘male-flesh’ was apparently weak, I don’t buy that his Honor and Belly Muscles were that. Dishonesty, LYING, CYA, Inventions, FICTIONS are a way of life at Obama’s End. This smells absolutely MALIGNANT..and I DON’T mean David Petraeus.

    I have a rotten/post-election shock & awe cold bug and need fuel before further pondering this latest horrific news. …DAMMIT.

  55. ThomasD Says:

    The affair took place while the General was still on active duty. That puts his pension, if not his freedom in jeopardy.

    Stick a fork in him, he’s done. Any further appearances before Congress will go exactly as the prior ones.

  56. Charles Says:

    DS Craft – I agree – this is a soap opera to change the news from the election.

    I also find it interesting that NBC News Tonight was so into trying to explain the “timeline” this scandal took place – to prove that it happened after the election.

    Ha! I’ve heard that one of the signs that someone is lying is when they offfer too much detail. That was NBC tonight – too much detail.

  57. Frank P Says:

    Ron Kessler breaks the story in more detail:

  58. csimon Says:

    Yes, I’ve read the affair took place while he was in Afghanistan. That’s a long time ago — and a significant amount of time BEFORE he was even made head of the CIA!

    And all of a sudden now he resigns?

  59. csimon Says:

    Just listening to Jeanine Pirro’s show w/ K.T. McFarland — who is a good friend of Petraeus’.
    And she makes an excellent point:
    When ANYone joins the CIA, you have a polygraph (mandatory). And one of the first questions they ask you is, “Is their anything in your past (or current life) that could prove embarrassing?
    She says that at that time he would have come forward with the info re: affair. Which means the White House knew about it before they went on to make him head of CIA.

    McFarland theorizes he was going to tell the truth about Benghazi, and the Administration told him basically, “no, you don’t want to do that…”
    Which makes sense to me.
    And so he resigned, because he didn’t want them breathing down his back to tell their pro-Obama cover-up story.

    Also, everyone I’ve seen interviewed who has known Petraeus well, consistantly emphasize Petraeus’ honor
    and integrity, and they, too, believe he’d rather leave than play their game.

    And it has been said that they only learned about affair because FBI was investigating his personal email and the woman with whom he had affair. They were not investigating him.

    But my, oh my, what a handy bit of info. would the Whitehouse have to leverage against Petraeus, if they wanted to… hmmm? A little extortion or blackmail. I’m guessing that is VERY possibly just what happened, and he said “Go screw yourselves!” I’ll leave and I’ll bring out the affair business myself.

    More I think about it, more it sounds plausible to me. Even likely. Anyone else have any thoughts?

  60. NeoConScum Says:

    csimon…Thank you and I heartily agree. By instinct,’read’ and some knowledge of the man. His sense of honor–what he IS–wouldn’t allow his compromising with the cheap twits at the WH.

  61. rickl Says:

    I don’t know what to think about Petraeus. I remember a few years ago when some conservatives were saying that he should run for President. I said, “Wait a minute. I don’t know anything about his political beliefs. He could be an FDR Democrat for all I know.”

    A few years earlier, some of those very same people thought that Colon Bowel would make a dandy Republican candidate–before he let it be known that race trumped everything for him.

    So, I don’t know. I am fairly certain that there is more to this than meets the eye.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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