Was General David Petraeus Targeted for Take-down by the Military?
The following article originally appeared on WhoWhatWhy.com.
Was the ambitious General David Petraeus targeted for take-down by competing interests in the US military/intelligence hierarchy—years before his abrupt downfall last year in an adultery scandal?
Previously unreported documents analyzed by WhoWhatWhy suggest as much. They provide new insight into the scandalous extramarital romance that led to Petraeus’s resignation as CIA director in November after several years of rapid rise—going from a little-known general to a prospective presidential candidate in a stunningly brief time frame.
Among other revelations the documents show that:
-Petraeus was suspected of having an extramarital affair nearly two years earlier than previously known.
-Petraeus’s affair was known to foreign interests with a stake in a raging policy and turf battle in which Petraeus was an active party.
-Those providing the “official” narrative of the affair—and an analysis of why it led to the unprecedented removal of America’s top spymaster— have been less than candid with the American people.
According to internal emails of the Austin-based private intelligence firm Stratfor, General David Petraeus was drawing attention to his private life much earlier than previously believed. Because it was his private life that resulted in his being forced out as CIA director, alterations in our understanding of the time frame are significant.
Until now, the consensus has been that Petraeus began an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, in the fall of 2011, after he retired from the military and took over the CIA.
Lt. Col. John Nagl, a friend of Petraeus, claims the Petraeus-Broadwell extramarital affair did not begin until after Petraeus became CIA director, which was in September 2011. And retired US Army Col. Steve Boylan, a former Petraeus spokesperson, saysthe affair did not begin until several months after August 2011, when Petraeus retired from the Army.
But documents—researched by WhoWhatWhy and published for the first time as part of an investigative partnership with WikiLeaks—suggest otherwise. These documents characterize Petraeus as having regular dinners in early 2010 with Abdulwahab al-Hajri, then Yemen’s ambassador to the US, and note that Petraeus brought to at least one of those dinners a woman “not his wife”—whom the Yemenis believed was “his mistress.” It’s possible—although not confirmed—that this woman was Paula Broadwell, Petraeus’s biographer and mistress, who sent allegedly threatening emails that spawned the strange FBI investigation that precipitated the former Army general’s resignation on November 9, 2012.
Stratfor has a longstanding position of not commenting on the emails obtained by WikiLeaks. The company’s boilerplate public response regarding the internal documents in WikiLeaks’ possession is that it “will not be victimized twice by submitting to questioning about them.”
Petraeus’s attorney, Robert Barnett, declined to comment.
According to the Stratfor emails, Petraeus brought a woman believed to be his mistress to at least one dinner at al-Hajri’s house as early as January or February 2010. It is known that by late 2010, after Petraeus took command for the Afghanistan war, Paula Broadwell had already established what has been called “ unfettered” and “ unprecedented” access to Petraeus, including lodging on his Kabul base.
By bringing to such a gathering a younger woman who aroused such suspicion, Petraeus was already exhibiting the kind of recklessness not uncommon to highly ambitious people on the rapid ascent. This was especially true given the stakes involved—and Petraeus’s own formidable enemies within the US government.
If the young woman was Broadwell, her willingness to accompany a top military official to such a closed-door, high-level event should draw additional attention to her thinking and motivations. Broadwell was a military intelligence reservist—and her take on what was discussed at precisely those kinds of dinners would have been of interest to her superiors.