The Petraeus Affair

by Dave Schuler on November 11, 2012

I don’t have a great deal to say about the reported affair of now former CIA Director and Gen. David Petraeus. First, as all stories of sexual improprieties of married individuals are, it’s sad, especially for Gen. Petraeus’s wife and Ms. Broadwell’s husband and children. However, if sexual impropriety alone were grounds for resignation or dismissal you could hardly get a quorum in the House or Senate.

I don’t care at all about the various conspiracy theories, questioning of timing, etc. I do care about the security issues. If, as I have heard alleged, Ms. Broadwell had unrestricted access to the general’s private email in Afghanistan, I think that’s very troubling. At the very least there should be Congressional hearings on the subject.

I also find the reports that the FBI waited for months before informing the Congressional intelligence committees about the affair troubling. My sense is that the FBI overstepped its authority. Oversight is a Congressional responsibility and it certainly sounds to me as though the FBI had interfered with the ability of the Congress to exercise its responsibilities. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says that he first heard about the story on Friday in the news media like the rest of us. That’s worth Congressional hearings, too.

Finally, it’s beyond sad that individuals holding the most responsible and sensitive positions in the land are behaving like adolescents. It’s outrageous. If they insist on behaving like adolescents, they should not be surprised to be treated like adolescents. Perhaps they need chaperones.


Those who are saying that this is purely a personal matter and that we’re paying too much attention to it are dead wrong. This is a workplace misconduct in an office where the people’s business is to be conducted and a national security story. That goes far beyond a personal matter.

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