Petraeus scandal erupts from nowhere to compete with Fiscal Cliff for news coverage
Who could have predicted the downfall of General David Petraeus as C.I.A. Director just after last week's election? Once again, we are treated to questions as to who knew what when. So much for Petraeus' Benghazi testimony!
So now we have the Petraeus affair - in part, a tabloid story; in part, a deadly serious national security story - competing with Fiscal Cliff coverage, and lest we forget, all the remaining problems for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
From POLITICO: "Six lingering questions about the exit of General David Petraeus"...
Wait...remember...the first thing you have to do is figure out whether Petraeus is in your same political party. If he's in the other political party, you should speak out against the resignation, hold angry protest marches in front of the White House.
On the other hand, if Petraeus shares your political party, you may go on a temper-tantrum about the liberal media distorting the facts, and Patraeus is as clear as the driven show.
No matter what the facts are, just mimic the talking points from your party's headquarters.
Mon, Nov 12, 2012 9:40am
Teatime: You don't even know what political party YOU'RE from. How do you expect anybody else to know about Patraeus?
Mon, Nov 12, 2012 9:47am
Dang it, where's the "Like" or "+1" button for teatime's comments?!?!
Mon, Nov 12, 2012 10:05am
So, we are now to believe that Gen. Petraus had a Gmail account that was hacked? Maybe I have watched too much NCIS, but no senior officials have an email account like that...those who believe this story are naive to say the least.
The real question is what was really going on at the CIA safehouse in Benghazi. I believe that is the story Petraeus does not want the press to know about. He can survive the current tabloid story and rebuild his reputation (Bill Clinton did)...maybe Petraeus will change his mind and decide he should run for president.
BTW, apparently the FBI already knew about the "relationships" when they vetted Petraeus for his job at the CIA. Blackmail is a powerful weapon and now who is going to believe the general after the "news" press gets done with him?
Mon, Nov 12, 2012 10:07am
btw teatime...I COMPLETELY agree that Petraeus should step down immediately and think he should have done it weeks ago!
Mon, Nov 12, 2012 10:12am
I should also point out that CIA directors are appointed by presidents and are not elected by the people. So political party is irrelevant in this instance. My guess is that he's a Republican appointed by a Democrat. Regardless, if the general is guilty as charged, the Republicans will be the first to throw the book at him regardless of his political party. If you don't believe me, just Google the CTA scandal of 1986 in Pennsylvania. State treasurer Budd Dwyer, a Republican, was totally thrown under the bus by a Republican governor, prosecutor, and judge. Mr. Dwyer subsequently blew his brains out on live TV with a 357 Magnum.
Mon, Nov 12, 2012 10:29am
Here is the Benghazi safe house info given by Paula Broadwell:
Mon, Nov 12, 2012 12:58pm
Petraeus was the head of a major spy agency. How come he couldn't keep his extramarital affair "a secret?"
Things that make you hmmmmmmmmm.
Mon, Nov 12, 2012 1:30pm
"Who could have predicted the downfall of General David Petraeus as C.I.A. Director just after last week's election?"
Actually...Mr. Glenn Beck predicted 2 weeks ago Petraeus would resign.
Mon, Nov 12, 2012 2:26pm
I should've written a more precise question. I should have posed this question: "Who could have predicted the downfall of General David Petraeus as C.I.A. Director just after the election... because of sexual indiscretions?"
From my understanding, Beck just predicted Petraeus might be the fall guy for the Benghazi tragedy, and consequently resign. To my knowledge, he never suggested an extra-marital affair NOR did he predict a Petraeus departure coming literally days after the election. Big difference.
Now, Bengahzi may have very well provided some pretext in the shadows. Perhaps someone upset by Petraeus - either personally or because of Benghazi - may have blown the whistle. But, this is still just conjecture.
The NEW YORK TIMES reports high-level officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department got word in the "late summer" that F.B.I. agents had uncovered what appeared to be an extra-marital affair. That would apparently predate Benghazi.
Of course, as even The NEW YORK TIMES notes: "But the bureau's history would make the privacy question especially significant; in his decades-long reign as the F.B.I.'s first director, J. Edgar Hoover sometimes directed agents to spy improperly on the sex lives of public figures and then used the resulting information to pressure or blackmail them." (Of course, we learned after his death that J. Edgar Hoover's personal demons may have haunted him and provoked this extraordinary interest in people's personal escapades.)
To teatime, I suspect even the most sophisticated intelligence agency can be broadsided by an unstable woman who sends off threatening e-mails, thereby prompting another agency to investigate! Basically, Paula Broadwell sent e-mails to another younger woman (Jill Kelley) whom she regarded as a rival.
Mon, Nov 12, 2012 2:44pm
"I should've written a more precise question. I should have posed this question: "Who could have predicted the downfall of General David Petraeus as C.I.A. Director just after the election... because of sexual indiscretions?"
Now to that question...I would say NO ONE. Petraeus has always been the pillar of honor & integrity.
Mon, Nov 12, 2012 3:12pm
I'm serious about what I asked.
Petraeus oversees a SPY agency, which is supposed to keep secrets. He must have been a lousy director if he could not even keep his kitty kat a secret.
Mon, Nov 12, 2012 3:27pm
Now that the 2012 presidential race is over, the news media will begin looking at the 2016 presidential race. Shall we?
Of course, it would be shocking if Hillary Clinton DIDN'T run. We know all the ultra-aggressive campaigning by Bill Clinton was to ensure that Hillary could stay in a high profile job for another four years and, thereby position herself for a White House bid in 2016.
The only obstacle to Hillary is age. Not just her real age mind you, but the perception of her age based on her appearance. Hillary has wrinkles on her face that could be connected with a pen and used for a brisk game of chess. She also has "chicken neck" with skin dangling down to the point where it is distracting. I wonder why somebody of such wealth doesn't do a face lift or botox injection.
Speaking of old, Joe Biden had his appetite whet by being second banana for eight years, and would almost certainly run, again if health and age permits. Biden is older than Hillary, but he doesn't "seem" as old. And, we know Biden has been fixated on the Oval Office since the 1987 presidential race when he plagiarized Neil Kinnock and made the biggest blunder since Gary Hart-Donna Rice.
For the Republicans, I'm fairly certain that Mitt Romney will be back...and continue to run just because he has nothing better to do with his time. He's like the producers of Paranormal Activity, who keep putting out sequels cuz' they've got nothing else to do.
Finally, in 2016, let's not forget Jeb, brother of W, and son of H.W. Let's see if Jeb dips his toe into the water.
Mon, Nov 12, 2012 5:49pm
Teatime: There's a far better chance Hillary will run than will Romney, however both will be at or close to 70 years old by then, so health will be a big reason to run or not run.
Mon, Nov 12, 2012 5:55pm
I think the fact that Glenn Beck predicted Patraeus' resignation for any reason at all shows that Mr. Beck, while right-wing and sometimes a bit over the edge, should not be dismissed as some on this blog have done. It's always better to check out the message and find it to be false than to shoot the messenger just because you don't like the message.
Mike from Delaware
Mon, Nov 12, 2012 11:17pm
Talking about a news story that's competing to get coverage, here is one I think is important from the CBS affiliate in Atlanta. 20 states, not all from the South, requesting permission from President Obama to secede from the nation.
I would be absolutely shocked if Mitt Romney ran for anything again.
Neither party treats its defeated nominees very well, and I would argue the Republican Party sends its losers into purgatory. In modern U.S. politics, you get one shot as a major party's nominee. Heck, George W. Bush served two terms as President, and he's in Republican purgatory. Almost like a high-ranking Soviet Politburo member or even a Premier who lost a power struggle, getting re-assigned as a discredited apparatchik to some minor party post in Tannu Tuva (along the Mongolian border) or even some oblast further east in Siberia!
I dislike discussing candidates' appearances, but one could argue Hillary Rodham Clinton's wrinkles give her some gravitas. Almost a given: If she seeks the Presidency in 2016, Joe Biden goes into retirement. If she doesn't, some of the top political talent might very well shift from Secretary Clinton to the Vice President.
Mike from Delaware: The state secession story is interesting, but let's please keep this in perspective. The way you worded it, "20 states, not all from the South, requesting permission from President Obama to secede from the nation", sounded as though the state legislatures and governors were formally petitioning for secession. That indeed would be a colossal story. Not so.
Mike from Delaware
Tue, Nov 13, 2012 8:36am
Allan: That was the way CBS Atlanta worded it and the way WDEL teases news stories to get you to stay tuned through the 3 minutes of commercials, so I did what the professionals do, created interest.
Granted the state governments didn't file those petitions, but it is interesting that 20 states, NOT all Red States that you might expect to file such a petition due to the election outcome, but Blue States (NJ, NY, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Oregon) also has some movement within them to file to secede.
Remember the areas in most states that are Blue are their metro areas like Philly/Pittsburg for PA. The rest of the states' counties were Red. So those folks probably feel their votes don't matter (much as I do here in Delaware) because the metro areas have the giant blocks of votes with plenty of minority voters who most times vote DEM/Liberal, pretty much are guaranteeing the outcome of the election. Then add to that where Puerto Rico's voters are expressing interest in becoming a state (another DEM strong hold with a large population), and the eventual DEM approach of legalizing 12-20 million illegals who would mostly be DEM voters doesn't give the GOP/Conservative voters much hope of having a real voice in our government. All of this might be fueling these Secession petitions.
Allan the bigger part of this story to me is the real divide, almost 50/50 in this nation. We haven't been a "united" United States in a serious way since the 2000 election. The two sides have very different world views and what their vision for America is.
The Blue group without God, having 24/7 abortion including Partial Birth for any reason, gay/lesbian marriage, gay/lesbian ordained priests, pastors, and ministers, Churches being forced to perform gay/lesbian marriages, and not being allowed to preach from Leviticus and other parts of the Bible that says homosexuality is an abomination, socialism essentially making the nation far more like Europe than we've been in our history, meaning a larger more intrusive government, legalize all drugs, etc., etc.
The Red group wants God front and center in the nation with all having the freedom to choose their beliefs and being allowed to openenly express those beliefs in society as has been the practice until "political correctness" became the rule, abortion ONLY for rape, incest, or the physical life of the mother being in danger, No Partial Birth Abortions, no gay/lesbian marriage, no gay/lesbian ordination of priests, pastors, or ministers, churches not being forced by the government to do anything that goes against their beliefs, etc, smaller less intrusive government, no legalized drugs other than for medical reasons, etc., etc.
Not so much here on these blogs, but in other blogs and Facebook I've seen the vision the "left" Blue has and it is as I've described above.
Another way to phrase it would be, The Hippies of the 1960's won and our nation is going the way they have been advocating since the 60's. So from where I sit this is a far more important story that the media will gloss over as it would rather devote hours and hours of air time discussing another sex scandal, this time Petraeus.
Tue, Nov 13, 2012 9:37am
Mike from Delaware...
Actually, I do try to avoid "false" teases. I don't want to promise something I can't deliver.
What you are missing in your analysis:
Affluent white suburbanites have increasingly joined the Democratic coalition. Whether in northern New Castle County; along the Main Line in Pennsylvania; or DuPage County in Illinois (home of the evangelical Wheaton College, incidentally), substantial numbers of these Caucasian voters found themselves alienated from the hard Southern tilt of the Republican Party (personified by Republican politicians like Tom DeLay) over the past two decades. Some, not all, of these upper middle-class whites may attend a house of worship on a regular basis (moderate to liberal Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Jewish), but just don't see the world quite as you do. Indeed, many are probably more libertarian on the issues you mention.
Their views can be quite nuanced. My public high school newspaper in the western Chicago suburbs (just east of the aforementioned DuPage County) endorsed President Obama for re-election, yet earlier defended the Roman Catholic bishops against the Administration. To the degree that many young people may reflect some of their parents' views, that may say volumes.
However, to the extent that affluent people DO become more secular (and I think that trend is difficult to refute), to the extent that the Republican Party is perceived as the more purely capitalist political party (fewer regulations), shouldn't evangelical supporters of the GOP ponder what it is about affluence that drives some people from God? Sorry, I just can't help but pose 'devil's advocate' questions...
I agree we're nearly a 50/50 divided nation. I said as much when interviewed by the BBC about three years ago, when I compared our current period to the 1840's & 1850's. But I just don't think the religious dimension is as stark and black-and-white as you portray it.
That said, I also disagree somewhat with your characterization of Europe. Many European parties after World War II called themselves "Christian Democrats", favoring safety nets for people - for example - as the real-life manifestation of authentic Christian values. I think even you, Mike, have faulted the Republicans for seemingly caring so little for the marginalized in society.
I concede Europeans have become more secular. But some of that may have been fueled by what they saw as hypocrisy in the churches -- Catholic and Protestant. The sex abuse scandal was the final nail, for example, in Catholic nations with higher proportions of churchgoers, i.e., Belgium and especially Ireland.
In Poland during communism, the Roman Catholic Church was the one independent bulwark against communism and Soviet domination, just as African-American churches played a crucial role here during the civil rights revolution. Freed of communism, weekly church attendance has dropped in Poland, although it's still higher than in many other European countries, especially in the neighboring Czech Republic.
In turn, the weak church affiliation in the Czech Republic goes back to that country's complicated history. Nationalist Czechs seeking to overturn the yoke of the Hapsburg Austro-Hungarian monarchy viewed Catholicism as an Austrian import that displaced Protestantism. Nationalist anti-Catholic appeals found favor in much of the population, even though many Bohemians / Moravians had been baptized in Catholic churches and were counted as Catholics. Many Czechs left the Church at the time of Czech independence from the Hapsburg monarchy. But Protestant churches by then were so weak, they were unable to fill the vacuum. Then came the post-World War II, communist era, which promoted atheism. Long lacking a formal church in which to rally (except for a feeble attempt to form a Czechoslovakian Hussite denomination), the Church could hardly fill the kind of role that it did in Poland. (Some smaller evangelical / charismatic denominations have won adherents). Why do I offer this complicated history? This is just to suggest the secularization of Europe is much more complicated and nuanced than many Americans realize. (It didn't help that some (not all) of the most conservative church leaders in Europe aligned with Hitler. For example, a Roman Catholic priest - Jozef Tiso - served as the head of the puppet, rump government of the Slovak state, aligned with Hitler and fully anti-Semitic. Tiso was convicted and hanged at the end of WWII for war crimes.)
A final monkey-wrench for those who see an inherent correlation between secularism and socialism: The more secularized Czech Republic has voted in more conservative, market-oriented governments, personified by Vaclav Klaus. (The late Vaclav Havel, an atheist, was the other side of the Czech coin. Although an atheist, even church people hailed Havel as a great crusader for human rights! Yet, Havel condemned our Western civilization as the "first atheist civilization", by which he was condemning insatiable greed or crass consumer materialism. The late Pope John Paul II would agree.)
I also think we can overplay "the Hippies of the 1960's". Many young people - including guys - did wear long hair but didn't necessarily become druggies, etc. And I would remind you many libertarian conservatives in the past - the late William F. Buckley, for example - favored at least the legalization of marijuana, and studying the pros and cons of legalizing / decriminalizing other drugs. Buckley famously sailed his yacht into international waters to experiment with grass -- breaking no law! Ain't just a liberal thing, Mike. Especially out West.
By the way, Puerto Rico is a much more complicated place when you examine that commonwealth closely. The Republican Party in Puerto Rico has tended to be the pro-Statehood party, for instance. Even though the immigration issue technically doesn't affect Puerto Ricans (for obvious reasons) - except for white folks on the mainland who may fail to differentiate between Puerto Ricans and illegal immigrants, treating all in an arrogant, dismissive matter, the kind of thing which would drive all Puerto Ricans to the Democratic Party -- it's not a slam dunk that a Puerto Rican Congressional delegation would replicate Washington, DC (if the District ever gained full statehood) -- all D's.
Mike from Delaware
Tue, Nov 13, 2012 10:20am
Allan: The morning news on WDEL is all about hyping the next thing.
Good points, however, I've had some rather long and deep discussions with some gay/lesbians and those things I mention have been said to me. There is an agenda there. Personally, I don't care what those folks do in their bedrooms - that's between them and God - they are the ones who want to broadcast their lives to all and want the rest of us to say it's fine and normal, thus the problem.
Our nation is changing and has become so very different from the nation it was 40 years ago. I'd agree that with wealth there does seem to be the trend to not need God, thus some of what's happening in the mainline Protestant denominations, etc. Probably with those who are "liberal" Catholics too vs. the more traditional Catholics.
We just disagree on how interesting this movement for secession is vs. the next big sex scandal. I hear plenty of pent-up anger of what our nation is becoming, the media that generally leans left, liberal, non-religious, etc., sees no problem making this a non-story. Probably correct as that story probably would't garner strong ratings like a sex scandal does. It is what it is.
Tue, Nov 13, 2012 11:00am
I would differentiate between trying to motivate an audience to hang around past the commercial break and outright hype. Perhaps to you we overdo it, but I still think we're generally tamer than the "teases" you hear on Philly TV stations.
Of course, whether it be "teases" or airing tabloid stories - as you know - the alternative to commercial media is non-commercial media, either dependent on "beg-a-thons" or public tax dollars. Less sensational publicly funded media have never occupied the central role here as in other English-speaking countries.
That said, the Petraeus story is more than just a sex story and serious media are looking into some of the less tawdry aspects.
I'm not sure the "traditional" vs. "liberal" Catholic designation is that black and white either. As some Catholic commentators have noted... if one attempts to take the Church's entire across-the-board pro-life and social justice agenda into account, that Catholic could neither vote nor be a Catholic politician.
Mike from Delaware
Tue, Nov 13, 2012 1:27pm
Allan: I wasn't trying to get into a debate about WDEL's promoting vs hyping news stories, but was responding to your comment to my original posting on the 20 States requesting to secede:
Mike from Delaware: The state secession story is interesting, but let's please keep this in perspective. The way you worded it, "20 states, not all from the South, requesting permission from President Obama to secede from the nation", sounded as though the state legislatures and governors were formally petitioning for secession.
My simple point is, WDEL and CBS Atlanta (where I got the story) did exactly what I did. It seems to be OK in your view if WDEL does it, but not others, that's not reasonable. I do understand WDEL's need to sell spots and squeeze them in, etc, but as a listener, it's still annoying though. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. My definition of a tradional Catholic is one who really follows the rules of the Catholic Church vs the cafeteria Catholics who pick and choose. I've known both types.
Tue, Nov 13, 2012 2:05pm
Actually, sometimes we ad-lib our "teases", and that's where we can run into trouble.
I'm just saying... If I was aware of the fine print of the story, I wouldn't tease it that way. By the way, I saw that story on the CBS News website, and the websites of other major media.
On the Catholic issue, I really believe "traditional" Catholic can be misleading in this sense: If a Catholic really thoughtfully reflects on Papal encyclicals and other Church pronouncements - combined with reflection on Scripture and Church history - trying to apply all that teaching to citizenship in a modern society, it's just exceedingly difficult to function within our two-party system (and even no third party reflects this convergence).
I'm not talking about just going to Sunday Mass (and Holy Days of Obligation); taking part in the Rite of Reconciliation (Confession); receiving the Eucharist, etc. That's the minimum.
Let me cast this in a different way: Even if one followed the Church's teaching against all forms of artificial birth control; opposed Roe v. Wade, etc. (which, to many people, would be "traditional"), that believer still might not necessarily be able to reconcile with the political Right (pro-capital punishment, guns, extremely hawkish military interventionist, violating Church Just War teaching!)...
That believer might not be able to reconcile with the political Left, either.
Mike from Delaware
Tue, Nov 13, 2012 3:21pm
Allan: I understand what the minimum is, but I'm sure, you notice how much more packed the Catholic Churches are on Christmas and Easter (E & C) Catholics (United Methodists) have them too, but doesn't seem to be as large of a group as at the Catholic Churches. There are folks who darken the Catholic Church twice a year and believe they are Catholics (I'm sure the Pope wouldn't agree with them). There are politicians who seem to have a different view of certain touchy issues than their Roman Church. I know some folks who ONLY darken a church door for weddings and funerals and yet consider themselves to be Roman Catholic. I've known folks who are so Roman Catholic, they wear a Scapula, say the Rosary faithfully, never miss Confession, long for the Latin Mass, if the church doors are open they are there, have a photo of the Pope up in their house, etc, (I believe most members of the Roman church in the US don't avail themselves to the Roman Sacrament of Confession often [remember Protestant Churches including Lutheran only have two Sacraments - Baptism and Holy Communion). So yes the definition can get a bit confusing.
However, having said all that, I defer to your definition as You are a Roman Catholic, who does take his faith seriously, thanks for the clarification.
Tue, Nov 13, 2012 7:02pm
Allan, all I can say is it's good to have you back after this long ordeal of an election. As always, you are a total genius when it comes to world affairs. Thanks for sharing.
Mike from Delaware
Tue, Nov 13, 2012 11:48pm
Apparently, now folks from 40 states, including Delaware (probably one of those Sussex County TEA party folks), have started a petition on the White House Petition web page to have their state peacefully secede from the US.
Do these people realize what they are actually requesting? I find this story interesting, because obviously there are some rather upset folks from both Blue and Red States who believe their life would be better outside of the US. It does seem rather extreme. However, its not a new feeling, Barbara Streisand numerous times said back when Republicans were winning elections that if Bush Jr. won, she'd leave the US, never did though.
In one sense, I could understand states like Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California making the request as they have a real beef with the Federal Government. Their states are being overrun by illegals crossing in from Mexico. These states have been begging the Feds to do something, and Washington has basically said, you states have no right to do anything about this, that is up to us the FEDS, and we choose to do nothing. Too bad if your state resources are over run, etc, etc. So I could understand where these folks might say, well after 30+ years of getting no real help from Uncle Sam, its time for us to do something, and the threat of secession is our only option to get the Feds to do something.
Of course we all know that Obama isn't going to just say, sure those states that got the required 25,000 signatures can force the other x million of folks in that state to secede.
The Delaware petition only has about 6100 signatures, so it has got a ways to go before it would have enough to even be given an answer, so I'd not lose a lot of sleep over wondering if the First State would become the Former First State making it possibly the smallest nation in both land area and population after the Vatican. We could become the Lion that Roared - heh heh. Gee, then we'd need a passport to go to Philly, Lancaster, Elkton, Ocean City MD, or Atlantic City. I wonder if Delaware became its own nation, would we finally get our own commercial TV station, an "international" Airport with real airlines flying to it - heh heh. There would be a passport check on each AMRTAK train, just outside of Newark, and again just outside of Claymont, both passport checks within about 15 minutes of the other. Think of the traffic backups on the Delaware Memorial Bridge each day as toll collectors would be checking passports of those sneaky folks from NJ who come to Delaware each day to work. Speaking of tolls, Delaware would also have to have its own currency, the Delaware, could be our equivalent to the US Dollar. Delaware would then need its own Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines to defend our borders from those "evil" Americans. Yea, Delaware is prime candidate to secede. This is so not going to happen, because it would be just plan stupid, but it was fun to speculate on the idea of the Nation of Delaware being a reality. Heck, we're almost too small to be a state, much less a nation. So again, I'd not lose any sleep worrying about Governor Jack Markell becoming a President Markell in a Delaware nation.
Also, note the article also mentions that someone has started a petition to have all those who sign these petitions to be deported.
This is sure more fun to talk about than another sex scandal, CIA involvement or not. Guy cheats on wife, gets caught, now his life is ruined, wife is humiliated since the whole world knows about it, so what else is new? The guy says, I made a mistake, NO KIDDING. The only one of these sex scandals where the guy's life didn't get ruined was............ That's right, good ole Bill (I did not have sex with that woman) Clinton. That man is the Teflon King, ole Slick Willy. So you guys enjoy the endless "coverage" of this so very important story about another big shot who couldn't control his urges. I'll find something else to do to occupy my time.
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