Done in by the Patriot Act?

by DAVE LINDORFF

There is a delicious irony to the story of the crash-and-burn career of Four-Star General and later (at least briefly) CIA Director David Petraeus.

The man who was elevated to the ethereal ranks of a General Eisenhower or Robert E. Lee by swooning corporate myth makers like the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Trudy Rubin, the Washington Post’s David Iglesias, and the NY Times’ Michael Gordon, was never really that brilliant. It wasn’t his “surge” after all that quieted things down (temporarily) in Iraq; rather it was a deal to pay off the insurgents with cash to stand down until the US could gracefully pull out without having to be shooting its way down to Kuwait in full retreat. As for his allegedly “brilliant” counterinsurgency policy of “winning hearts and minds,”  we have already seen how well that has worked in Iraq, which is now basically a client state of Iran, and the writing is already on the wall in Afghanistan, where the US is almost universally loathed, with US forces spending most of their time looking out for Afghan soldiers who might turn their guns on their supposed ally and “mentor” American troops.

For a real measure of Gen. Petraeus , go to Admiral William Fallon — that rare military leader who had the guts to tell President Bush and Cheney he would not allow an attack on Iran “on his watch,” thereby quite possibly saving us all from being at war with Iran years ago. Fallon, who at the time in 2007 was head of Centcom, the military command region covering the entire Middle East, once reportedly called, Petraeus, who was being put in charge of the Iraq theater, an “ass-licking little chicken-shit” — to his face.

Anyhow, what makes the epic collapse of this consummate political general’s career so exquisite is that it was the post-9-11 spying capabilities of the FBI that allowed its agents to slip unannounced into the email of the General’s paramour, Paula Broadwell (a name that could have been selected by Ian Fleming!), and possibly into the general’s own email too, there to find the evidence, allegedly in the form of X-rated letters, of a covert adulterous relationship underway.

We now know that the FBI was alerted to this breach of decorum (if the illicit romance began while Petraeus was on active duty in Afghanistan, he could be prosecuted under the same rules that have led to the prosecution of many lower ranking offers: bringing ill-repute upon the military) and lack of judgement on the part of the head of the nation’s spooks, by a second woman, Jill Kelley, who was a volunteer military liaison and family friend of the Petraeus clan. Kelley’s closeness to Petraeus allegedly caused the jealous Broadwell to allegedly send threatening emails to her imagined rival, including one that told her to “stay away from my guy!”

It seems likely Kelley, in asking the FBI to put a halt to the threatening emails, would have been quick to point out that Broadwell was having an affair with Petraeus. In any event, once the FBI successfully go the telecom company she was using to allow them into Broadwell’s email, that would have been clear, and it would have been easy work to move on to the general’s own cache of love letters (in which he may have been referred to by Broadwell by what she told the Daily Show’s John Stewart was his childhood nickname “Peaches”).

The CIA chief was thus done in by the Patriot Act and other assorted violations of the First and Fourth Amendments, all backed by Gen. Petraeus  and his political promoters in Congress and the White House, as well as in the corporate media.

Of course, while we can enjoy this payback, and speculate on how it must be giving the shivers to many a White House staffer and member of Congress, it should also be a warning to us all that the FBI, the CIA, and the myriad other intelligence agencies littering the US landscape, these days have virtually limitless ability to monitor our every email message, tweet and phone call.

Maybe we should invite the now humbled Petraeus to become the poster child for a renewed battle to restore the Bill of Rights.

DAVE LINDORFF is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper. His work, and that of colleagues JOHN GRANT, LORI SPENCER, LINN WASHINGTON, JR. and CHARLES M. YOUNG, can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net

 

 

 

 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
September 03, 2015
Sal Rodriguez
How California Prison Hunger Strikes Sparked Solitary Confinement Reforms
Lawrence Ware
Leave Michael Vick Alone: the Racism and Misogyny of Football Fans
Dave Lindorff
Is Obama the Worst President Ever?
Vijay Prashad
The Return of Social Democracy?
Jeralynn Bluford
Quantitative Easing for People: Jeremy Corbyn’s Radical Proposal
Paul Craig Roberts
The Rise of the Inhumanes: Barron, Bybee, Yoo and Bradford
Lynn Holland
For the Love of Water: El Salvador’s Mining Ban
Geoff Dutton
Time for Some Anger Management
Jack Rasmus
The New Colonialism: Greece and Ukraine
Norman Pollack
American Jews and the Iran Accord: The Politics of Fear
John Grant
Sorting Through the Bullshit in America
David Macaray
The Unbearable Lightness of Treaties
Chad Nelson
Lessig Uses a Scalpel Where a Machete is Needed
September 02, 2015
Paul Street
Strange Words From St. Bernard and the Sandernistas
Jose Martinez
Houston, We Have a Problem: False Equivalencies on Police Violence
Henry Giroux
Global Capitalism and the Culture of Mad Violence
Ajamu Baraka
Making Black Lives Matter in Riohacha, Colombia
William Edstrom
Wall Street and the Military are Draining Americans High and Dry
David Altheide
The Media Syndrome Between a Glock and a GoPro
Yves Engler
Canada vs. Africa
Ron Jacobs
The League of Empire
Andrew Smolski
Democracy and Privatization in Neoliberal Mexico
Stephen Lendman
Gaza: a Socioeconomic Dead Zone
Norman Pollack
Obama, Flim-Flam Artist: Alaska Offshore Drilling
Binoy Kampmark
Australian Border Force Gore
Ruth Fowler
Ask Not: Lost in the Crowd with Amanda Palmer
Kim Nicolini
Remembering Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes
September 01, 2015
Mike Whitney
Return to Crisis: Things Keep Getting Worse
Michael Schwalbe
The Moral Hazards of Capitalism
Eric Mann
Inside the Civil Rights Movement: a Conversation With Julian Bond
Pam Martens
How Wall Street Parasites Have Devoured Their Hosts, Your Retirement Plan and the U.S. Economy
Jonathan Latham
Growing Doubt: a Scientist’s Experience of GMOs
Fran Shor
Occupy Wall Street and the Sanders Campaign: a Case of Historical Amnesia?
Joe Paff
The Big Trees: Cockburn, Marx and Shostakovich
Randy Blazak
University Administrators Allow Fraternities to Turn Colleges Into Rape Factories
Robert Hunziker
The IPCC Caught in a Pressure Cooker
George Wuerthner
Myths of the Anthropocene Boosters: Truthout’s Misguided Attack on Wilderness and National Park Ideals
Robert Koehler
Sending Your Children Off to Safe Spaces in College
Jesse Jackson
Season of the Insurgents: From Trump to Sanders
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America