Sad end to Petraeus' brilliant career
The Kansas City Star
The resignation of David Petraeus as head of the CIA is not just a significant loss for the nation but a tragic finale for a brilliant career.
Petraeus devoted his adult life to serving his country, something all should keep in mind as the scandal vortex kicks into high gear. Wise heads know to reserve judgment until the facts are known.
Petraeus’ decision to resign over an extramarital affair was entirely correct. Such behavior is a classic blackmail target, and the CIA’s top leader has an example to set.
The most obvious question is why the FBI didn’t inform key lawmakers earlier.
Published reports say the case began when Jill Kelley, who arranged social events at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, told the FBI she was receiving harassing emails. The investigation led to the affair between Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, author of a biography of Petraeus — and the person who had sent the emails to Kelley.
Broadwell surrendered her computer, on which classified documents were found. Petraeus was also interviewed and denied being a source of the documents — an assertion backed by Broadwell.
The FBI says it didn’t determine until the evening of the election there was insufficient evidence for criminal charges. That explanation may not satisfy congressional overseers.
It is also not clear why Petraeus, despite his resignation, won’t testify in this week’s congressional hearings on the Benghazi attack. He was in charge of the CIA at the time and the casualties included CIA contractors. Allowing Petraeus to testify could put many of the Benghazi questions to rest.
Petraeus’ record must be viewed as a whole. While he is revealed as all too human, he was one of the nation’s greatest generals.
During his time as commander at Fort Leavenworth, Petraeus rewrote the Army’s counterinsurgency manual and then put those concepts to work in Iraq. His success in turning the tide in that war is a feat young officers will study for generations.