FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why was Petraeus Really Ousted?

The resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus just didn’t make sense.   An affair?  With his biographer Paula Broadwell?  Even CBS’s Face the Nation Peggy Noonan commented that Petraeus shouldn’t resign. “And I just have to ask why do we have to lose him over this? That actually makes no sense.” Like all of us, she found his resignation over an extramarital affair “a little too mysterious” and “it looks very strange.”  Petraeus was scheduled to testify next week in a closed hearing on what happened at Benghazi.   “What I don’t understand is the immediate departure,” Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein told CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger. “That’s the part I don’t get.”

Mainstream media focuses on Petraeus’s upcoming testimony before the Senate intelligence committee on the attack at the Benghazi consulate in Libya which led to the death of our ambassador.  That explanation may be the reason. Some members of the intelligence committee already considered charging Petraeus with perjury, but planned to withhold judgment until he testified this week. After resigning as CIA director, the CIA said acting director Mike Morrell would testify in his place.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said it is essential that Petraeus testify.  Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Peter King, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was adamant that Petraeus testify. “David Petraeus testifying has nothing to do with whether or not he’s still the CIA director, and I don’t see how the CIA can say he’s not going to testify,” King said. “He was at the center of this and he has answers that only he has.”  King has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration’s handling of the attacks in Libya that killed four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

The CIA and the Obama administration may have something to hide and that may be why Petraeus abruptly resigned.  That’s one possibility.

 

The other possibility is good old-fashioned pillow-talk, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Christine Keeler’s association with John Profumo, British Secretary of State for War, led to his resignation in the early sixties.

In the Profumo Affair, as it has come to be called, no secrets were exposed.  In Petreaus’ case the pillow-talk may have exposed an outlawed and illegal activity of our CIA. Broadwell, Petreaus’ biographer and lover, inadvertently may have revealed what was a “top secret” during a public talk at the University of Denver.  She was in the Q&A part of the event when a questioner asked the following innocuous question: “General Petraeus in his new role has a very difficult situation now in the center of the situation in Benghazi.  Do you have any comments?”

Broadwell did. After giving a bit of background, she mentioned that the “ground forces at the CIA Annex were requesting reinforcements.” Then she added: “I don’t know if a lot of you have heard this but the CIA annex had actually taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoners.” She told her audience that the attack was thought to be “an effort to get them back.”  Oops.

U.S. officials have not made reference to that possible motive in numerous accounts of the Benghazi attack and for good reason.  ““The CIA has not had detention authority since January 2009, when Executive Order 13491 was issued. Any suggestion that the Agency is still in the detention business is uninformed and baseless,” said a CIA spokesperson in a statement issues on Sunday night.

Looks like we could have a smoking pillow but we’ll probably never know.  In our “democracy” the military and other forces act “in our name” but we are often not told what is done or why, even if it is as illegal as torture, or extrajudicial killings, or renditions, or, as may be the case here, illegal detentions.  Contrary to what the public is led to believe, the main reason for many facts being classified as “top secret” isn’t so that the designated-enemy-of-the-moment won’t know—the “enemy” usually knows only too well, as Iraqis knew about the torture that was going on.  The reason for secrecy is to keep the facts from us, the people, so that we are not a fully informed citizenry.  That’s one reality of “top secret” in our nominal democracy.

Did Petraeus just not want  to testify?  Was he concerned about being charged with perjury? Would his testimony have jeopardized the president? Was there a smoking pillow?  In a democracy we have the right to know what cost Petraeus his job, just as we have the right to know what our government is doing and saying in our name.  Without this knowledge, government of and by the people is a sham.

Bart Gruzalski a professor emeritus of philosophy from Northeastern University.  He co-edited Value Conflicts in Health Care Delivery and published On The Buddha, as well as On Gandhi.

More articles by:

December 18, 2018
Charles Pierson
Where No Corn Has Grown Before: Better Living Through Climate Change?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Waters of American Democracy
Patrick Cockburn
Will Anger in Washington Over the Murder of Khashoggi End the War in Yemen?
George Ochenski
Trump is on the Ropes, But the Pillage of Natural Resources Continues
Farzana Versey
Tribals, Missionaries and Hindutva
Robert Hunziker
Is COP24 One More Big Bust?
David Macaray
The Truth About Nursing Homes
Nino Pagliccia
Have the Russian Military Aircrafts in Venezuela Breached the Door to “America’s Backyard”?
Paul Edwards
Make America Grate Again
David Rosnick
The Impact of OPEC on Climate Change
Binoy Kampmark
The Kosovo Blunder: Moving Towards a Standing Army
Andrew Stewart
Shine a Light for Immigration Rights in Providence
December 17, 2018
Susan Abulhawa
Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites
Jake Palmer
Viktor Orban, Trump and the Populist Battle Over Public Space
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Fights Proposal to Keep It From Looting Medicare
David Rosen
December 17th: International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers
Binoy Kampmark
The Case that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the Conviction of Cardinal Pell
Dave Lindorff
Making Trump and Other Climate Criminals Pay
Bill Martin
Seeing Yellow
Julian Vigo
The World Google Controls and Surveillance Capitalism
ANIS SHIVANI
What is Neoliberalism?
James Haught
Evangelicals Vote, “Nones” Falter
Vacy Vlanza
The Australian Prime Minister’s Rapture for Jerusalem
Martin Billheimer
Late Year’s Hits for the Hanging Sock
Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail