Three Things to be Thinking About When it Comes to Petraeus et al.


Ethan Gach

I write about comics, video games and American politics. I fear death above all things. Just below that is waking up in the morning to go to work. You can follow me on Twitter at @ethangach or at my blog, And though my opinions aren’t for hire, my virtue is.

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19 Responses

  1. Avatar North says:

    My only thought of any significance was a vague hope that this would accellerate Obama’s ongoing disentanglement from the middle east and Afghanistan. With Petraus out that’s one less influential voice in favor of endless commitments.Report

  2. Avatar Morat20 says:

    Kevin Drum’s latest post on it notes a few recent developments.

    Specifically, this bit from the NY times: “Later, the agent became convinced — incorrectly, the official said — that the case had stalled. Because of his “worldview,” as the official put it, he suspected a politically motivated cover-up to protect President Obama. The agent alerted Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, who called the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, on Oct. 31 to tell him of the agent’s concerns.”

    Basically, whole thing would have been closed (it looks like without the smitten FBI agent, it wouldn’t have been opened at all, because the emails barely rose to the level of harassment) but said smitten FBI agent got Cantor involved, apparently believing it was somehow some Benghazi conspiracy theory issue.

    Which means Petreaus was undone — and possibly Allen now — by a tin-foil hat wearing wingnut.Report

    • Avatar Ethan Gach in reply to Morat20 says:

      Of course, had they not behaved in an inappropriate and unbecoming way, the tin-foiled wingnut would not have found anything to uncover.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Ethan Gach says:

        Actually, no. Reading the set of pieces Kevin linked, the FBI was basically gonna close the investigation.

        The initial complaint was, if not baseless, not worth prosecuting. Petreaus would probably have been informed, as I would imagine a few other CIA officials would have been, but it wouldn’t have gone public.

        Just would have been filed in the FBI, like a bunch of other stuff the FBI does that doesn’t lean to arrests, prosecutions, or anything else.Report

        • Avatar Ethan Gach in reply to Morat20 says:

          I agree with everything you say. But the problem lies not with the “tin-foiled wing nut,” but elsewhere.Report

          • Avatar M.A. in reply to Ethan Gach says:

            The issue seems to be a general willing to diddle his subordinate, correct?Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Ethan Gach says:

            Well, in the sense that if the generally hadn’t been dipping his pen in the company ink, there would be no issue, yes.

            OTOH, if a smitten FBI agent with a tin-foil conspiracy theory hadn’t run to Cantor, all of this would have remained the usual sort of office-place gossip and undoubtly a very interesting (in the Chinese sense) personal chaos.

            My initial wondering of why the heck the FBI was so involved in a simple affair — much less devoted so much resources to it (admittedly, having the head of the CIA open to blackmail is Bad but that’s now how it started) has been resolved.

            Someone asked their FBI buddy who had a crush on them to help out. And he did.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Morat20 says:

              “My initial wondering of why the heck the FBI was so involved in a simple affair”

              Um, the director of the CIA screwing around with the person extensively interviewing him on a daily bases is not a simple affair. It’s a massive security risk.

              I mean, maybe if this was “he went out to party one night and picked up some BBC stringer who was gone from his bed before he woke up”, that’s one thing. This was very much not that.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to DensityDuck says:

                No, it STARTED as one person complaining to the FBI that she was getting “threatening” emails.

                Those emails were so mild that the FBI got it to “maybe” on the mildest possible form of harassment. It was literally inconsequential, a million times less threatening than any major blogger sees a dozen times a day.

                Where it ENDED was not “a simple affair”. Where it started was one woman complaining about midly annoying emails from another woman, which is where in the real world it would have ended.

                Unless you have friends in the FBI, and one of them wants in your pants.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Morat20 says:

          “Reading the set of pieces Kevin linked, the FBI was basically gonna close the investigation.”

          …because of who they were investigating.

          If you or I had been some keyboard-basher in the CIA, and it came out in a background investigation that we were having an extramarital affair, we wouldn’t even be allowed to clean out our desk. But for the People In Charge, the rules are different.Report

  3. Avatar DRS says:

    Someone seriously needs to create a timeline because it’s all looking very complicated unless you’re following the story obsessively.

    Always remember, never forget: when the small brain takes over, the large brain might as well go flying out the window.Report

  4. Avatar Roger says:

    So are we all in agreement then that when a political figure has an inappropriate affair that the appropriate action is to step down from office?Report

  5. Avatar Mac says:

    The modern national security apparatus eating itself. Funny life’s little ironies.Report