At Wired Danger Room, Noah Shachtman and Spencer Ackerman have an update this morning
on the Petraeus/Broadwell mess
. The focus: what the hell was Broadwell doing, apparently leaking CIA operational secrets at a public appearance she gave at an October 26 alumni symposium at the University of Denver?
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David Petraeus, L, used a pseudonymous Gmail account to sext biographer/lover Paula Broadwell, R. They were outed in part by Gmail metadata.
Well, that didn't take long.
On Friday, CIA chief and retired general David Petraeus, 60, resigned after an FBI probe stumbled on evidence of an extramarital affair, and hinted at possible security violations. The other woman was soon identified as Paula Broadwell, 40, his protegé, biographer, and paramour. The FBI encountered news of their liasons, the narrative went, after a woman who'd received threatening and harrassing emails from Broadwell complained to the FBI.
On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal identified that "other other woman" as being based in Florida, and specified that she was neither a government employee nor a member of Petraeus' family. Some of the defense/intelligence journalists I spoke to over the weekend theorized that Florida might mean Tampa, where the US military's Central Command and Special Operations Command is based, and that the as-yet-unidentified "other other woman" might be either a member of the press, or someone who works in a non-official capacity with CENTCOM, and may or may not have had any romantic connection with Petraeus.
They were right.
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"Now the Global Left/Soros/Cloward-Piven/Eric Holder/Mau Mau endgame approaches. Get ready for CIA Director Dennis Kucinich." From BB commenter SedanChair
comes this gem
of analytical bravado, a summary of farthest-of-far right-wing conspiracy theories on Petraeusgate
. — Xeni
At the Wired News
defense blog Danger Room, a mea culpa of sorts by Spencer Ackerman
, who realizes in hindsight that he helped perpetuate a myth of sorts about the recently-disgraced retired general and outgoing CIA chief.
Like many in the press, nearly every national politician, and lots of members of Petraeus’ brain trust over the years, I played a role in the creation of the legend around David Petraeus. Yes, Paula Broadwell wrote the ultimate Petraeus hagiography, the now-unfortunately titled All In. But she was hardly alone. (Except maybe for the sleeping-with-Petraeus part.) The biggest irony surrounding Petraeus’ unexpected downfall is that he became a casualty of the very publicity machine he cultivated to portray him as superhuman. I have some insight into how that machine worked.
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"Be positive. Everyone likes to be around people who exude energy. Find a way to give energy and encouragement. It is amazing how the right attitude and the ability to make others feel good about themselves can be a magnet for new friends and colleagues! A book that captures this phenomenon is Celestine Prophesy."—Petraeus biographer and alleged email harasser and paramour Paula Broadwell, interviewed for a lady leadership series. More about the Petraeus/Broadwell affair in this previous Boing Boing post. (via Robert Caruso)
The Washington Post reports that the investigation into CIA chief David Petraeus began "when a woman whom he was having an affair with sent threatening e-mails to another woman close to him," citing "three senior law enforcement officials with knowledge of the episode" as sources. The Wall Street Journal reports the probe said the FBI began investigating after "a complaint from a woman in Florida" about Paula Broadwell, his biographer and lover. Other news accounts suggested that the FBI began snooping on the spy boss' Gmail account over fear it had been compromised by Chinese hackers.
If the prevailing narrative is true, Petraeus paramour Paula Broadwell used the same email account to send
A) Sexmail to Petraeus, and B) Threatmail to another woman.
Initial media speculation was that this "other woman" was a romantic rival (or perceived as one by Broadwell), but who knows? Bloomberg reports that the emails from Broadwell warned the woman to "stay away from" the general. But what if, instead, the target of Broadwell's threatening email were someone who knew too much? A woman who had knowledge of the affair and represented a threat of exposure. A Washington insider, maybe a reporter. "Stay away" not because you're a romantic rival, but because you might out us, and in so doing, destroy our lives.
The WSJ's late-Saturday story follows a love triangle narrative: the Florida woman's complaint "alleged Ms. Broadwell was sending harassing emails to her about the nature of the relationship between Mr. Petraeus and the Florida woman," and while no reporters claim to have seen the emails' contents, "people familiar with the investigations said they suggested Ms. Broadwell suspected the other woman was in a relationship with Mr. Petraeus." There is no evidence her suspicions were true, the WSJ adds.
The FBI worked with prosecutors in North Carolina (where Broadwell is based) and Florida (where the woman she emailed was based). The investigation initially focused on "the possibility of email hacking, because at least some of the emails sent by Ms. Broadwell to the other woman included contents of messages that appeared to come from Mr. Petraeus's own account."
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A letter from an anonymous NYT reader to "Ethicist" writer Chuck Klosterman, titled "MY WIFE’S LOVER
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My wife is having an affair with a government executive. His role is to manage a project whose progress is seen worldwide as a demonstration of American leadership. (This might seem hyperbolic, but it is not an exaggeration.) I have met with him on several occasions, and he has been gracious. (I doubt if he is aware of my knowledge.) I have watched the affair intensify over the last year, and I have also benefited from his generosity. He is engaged in work that I am passionate about and is absolutely the right person for the job. I strongly feel that exposing the affair will create a major distraction that would adversely impact the success of an important effort. My issue: Should I acknowledge this affair and finally force closure? Should I suffer in silence for the next year or two for a project I feel must succeed? Should I be “true to my heart” and walk away from the entire miserable situation and put the episode behind me? NAME WITHHELD
. Published: July 13, 2012. (via @blakehounshell)
Update: Not related, says NYT magazine editor Hugo Lindgren.
As reported earlier today
, CIA chief David Petraeus has resigned after an FBI probe into whether someone else was using his email led to the discovery he was having an extramarital affair.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the investigation focused on his Gmail account, and that the traffic they observed "led agents to believe the woman or someone close to her had sought access to his email." The woman in question has now been identified as West Point graduate Paula Broadwell, author of "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus."
While Mr. Petraeus was still a general, he had email exchanges with the woman, but there wasn't a physical relationship, the person said. The affair began after Mr. Petraeus retired from the Army in August 2011 and ended months ago, the person said.
Previously: CIA chief Petraeus steps down, having failed to keep his drone in his pants
David H. Petraeus, the head of America's Central Intelligence Agency, resigned just days after the election after issuing a statement saying he had engaged in an extramarital affair.
"By acknowleding an extramarital affair, Mr. Petraeus, 60, was confronting a sensitive issue for a spy chief," reports the New York Times. "Intelligence agencies are often concerned about the possibility that agents who engage in such behavior could be blackmailed for information."
In an email to Wired's national security blog Danger Room, a former confidant says of the disgraced general, “He feels that he screwed up. He did a dishonorable thing and needed to try to do the honorable thing.” The source says the affair began after Petraeus retired from the military and became CIA director.
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