The Petraeus affair: The plot thickens
Douglas Lucas and Russ Baker report new developments at WhoWhatWhy.com:
Was the ambitious General David Petraeus targeted for take-down by competing interests in the US military/intelligence hierarchy—years before his abrupt downfall last year in an adultery scandal?
Previously unreported documents analyzed by WhoWhatWhy suggest as much. They provide new insight into the scandalous extramarital romance that led to Petraeus’s resignation as CIA director in November after several years of rapid rise—going from a little-known general to a prospective presidential candidate in a stunningly brief time frame.
Among other revelations the documents show that:
-Petraeus was suspected of having an extramarital affair nearly two years earlier than previously known.
-Petraeus’s affair was known to foreign interests with a stake in a raging policy and turf battle in which Petraeus was an active party.
-Those providing the “official” narrative of the affair—and an analysis of why it led to the unprecedented removal of America’s top spymaster— have been less than candid with the American people.
According to internal emails of the Austin-based private intelligence firm Stratfor, General David Petraeus was drawing attention to his private life much earlier than previously believed. Because it was his private life that resulted in his being forced out as CIA director, alterations in our understanding of the time frame are significant.
Until now, the consensus has been that Petraeus began an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, in the fall of 2011, after he retired from the military and took over the CIA.
Lt. Col. John Nagl, a friend of Petraeus, claims the Petraeus-Broadwell extramarital affair did not begin until after Petraeus became CIA director, which was in September 2011. And retired US Army Col. Steve Boylan, a former Petraeus spokesperson, says the affair did not begin until several months after August 2011, when Petraeus retired from the Army.
But documents—researched by WhoWhatWhy and published for the first time as part of an investigative partnership with WikiLeaks—suggest otherwise. These documents characterize Petraeus as having regular dinners in early 2010 with Abdulwahab al-Hajri, then Yemen’s ambassador to the US, and note that Petraeus brought to at least one of those dinners a woman “not his wife”—whom the Yemenis believed was “his mistress.” It’s possible—although not confirmed—that this woman was Paula Broadwell, Petraeus’s biographer and mistress, who sent allegedly threatening emails that spawned thestrange FBI investigation that precipitated the former Army general’s resignation on November 9, 2012.
Stratfor has a longstanding position of not commenting on the emails obtained by WikiLeaks. The company’s boilerplate public response regarding the internal documents in WikiLeaks’ possession is that it “will not be victimized twice by submitting to questioning about them.”
Petraeus’s attorney, Robert Barnett, declined to comment.
According to the Stratfor emails, Petraeus brought a woman believed to be his mistress to at least one dinner at al-Hajri’s house as early as January or February 2010. It is known that by late 2010, after Petraeus took command for the Afghanistan war, Paula Broadwell had already established what has been called “unfettered” and “unprecedented” access to Petraeus, including lodging on his Kabul base.
By bringing to such a gathering a younger woman who aroused such suspicion, Petraeus was already exhibiting the kind of recklessness not uncommon to highly ambitious people on the rapid ascent. This was especially true given the stakes involved—and Petraeus’s own formidable enemies within the US government.
If the young woman was Broadwell, her willingness to accompany a top military official to such a closed-door, high-level event should draw additional attention to her thinking and motivations. Broadwell was a military intelligence reservist—and her take on what was discussed at precisely those kinds of dinners would have been of interest to her superiors.
By the date of these 2010 dinners, Broadwell had known Petraeus for four years—and had been working closely with him on his biography since the previous year. She says she first met him in the spring of 2006, when she was a graduate student at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and asked if she could write his biography. She began work on the biography in 2009 when he headed CENTCOM, the US Central Command. With the biography as her justification, she followed him to Afghanistan where he led the US forces.
Thus, if Stratfor’s Yemeni diplomat source is correct, and the woman was Broadwell, an attractive military intelligence reserve officer was far more deeply entwined than previously known with a controversial, fast-climbing figure at the center of some of America’s and the world’s hottest disputes—at the risk of compromising him and his future. . .
Continue reading. It’s a lengthy article.
From later in the article:
. . . One of the more revealing aspects of the Stratfor memos is their candor about the narrow and self-serving behavior of agencies and departments whose official justifications are too seldom questioned by the media.
In Email-ID 1204569, coming a year before the US raid on Bin Laden’s haven in Abbottabad, Pakistan, Bhalla writes, with brutal cynicism:
There’s been a ton of media spin and leaks later about Anwar al Awlaki being the next bin Laden. OBL is becoming old news now. CIA and JSOC want a new target to claim success, so there’s a concerted campaign going on right now to play up al Awlaki as the #1 terrorist. Al Awlaki is much easier to target anyway and they have leads on him, so every agency wants to be the one to say they got him. [Emphasis added.]
The month before this September 4, 2010 email, the Obama Administration had placedAnwar al-Awlaki on a “kill or capture” list. A little over a year later, on September 30 2011, a US drone strike killed al-Awlaki in Yemen without his having been charged, given any due process or trial, and without any of the evidence against him being made public—an unprecedented attack on a US citizen.
That Stratfor analysts report a “turf war” between the CIA and JSOC also foreshadows what many see as the biggest fallout from installing a military general as head of what had been regarded as a civilian agency — the further militarization of the CIA’s mission. The fact that the general had a mistress in tow (or—if one assumes that the woman mentioned in Stratfor’s intelligence about that dinner in Yemen wasn’t Paula Broadwell—a series of mistresses) can only add to the disquiet. . .