I have been waiting to let this story kind of develop before posting on it and it now appears via a reader tip that Petraeus’ mistress that caused his resignation was his biographer Paula Broadwell:
CIA Director David Petraeus dramatically resigned today after allegedly having an affair with his biographer.
Broadwell, who researched the book ‘All In’ for three years, had extensive access to Petraeus in Afghanistan. Yet sources told NBC it is unlikely she will face criminal charges after the alleged hacking, stressing that Petraeus himself is under no investigation.
Petraeus stepped down today after confessing to cheating on his wife of 37 years, Holly – behaviour he explained was ‘unacceptable’ for a senior administration official. [Daily Mail]
This news I found to be extremely surprising initially, but when you think about it this guy has been away from his wife for years over the past decade due to his multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. During that time who knows what the situation with his wife became like at home. What surprises me more than anything is that he allegedly was carrying on this affair while deployed. It just seems like a very risky thing to be doing while deployed because it is easy to get the rumor mill started on deployment as a leader since all eyes are on you.
Something else that is surprising is that he allegedly was sending her e-mails detailing their encounters on a government computer. The FBI was supposedly investigating Broadwell for hacking Petraeus’ e-mail when they uncovered the affair. The rumor mill is that she was trying to get access to information using Petraeus’ account. So it may be she had classified SIPR network access and some how got Petraeus’ log in info?
Broadwell is friends with Thomas Ricks from CNAS and provided postings like this on his blog that shows that she was allowed to post sensitive pictures from Afghanistan. Anyway Ricks recently posted that a source at the White House told him that President Obama tried to get him to stay at the CIA despite the affair but Petraeus insisted on leaving. Since the affair supposedly happened while on active duty I have read talk about him facing a court martial for adultery. Something else that complicates things is that Broadwell is a reserve Major so would the affair be an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate? This is something the JAG people would need to figure out, but I doubt anything will happen legally since Petraeus has been retired for over a year.
I do have to wonder if Petraeus felt the FBI was going to leak about his affair? Why else disclose in the resignation letter the affair? He could have just simply stepped down citing that he was wore out from public service and wanted to spend more time at home. I think people would have understood that, but for some reason he felt he had to disclose the affair. The timing though of the resignation is feeding into Benghazi conspiracy theories which I think had nothing to do with the resignation. I guess we will see what surfaces in the next few days.