Copyright © by Len Holman, 11/18/12
General Petraeus, former head of the CIA, is in trouble. He has resigned because he had an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. OK, not too bright for a career military man and a politically wise guy, which a general who wants to stay in business and thrive must be in today’s climate (just ask Gen. MacArthur about that). The story is salacious, messy, embarrassing for almost everyone concerned, and potentially dangerous to—I hate to say it—National Security.
As much as I like a good piece of red meat, I think it’s interesting that few, if any, are concentrating on what I see as more troublesome than a roll in the sack and some flirtatious emails: how the FBI got involved. Of course, we all know that the government data-mines our stuff, trolling through millions of electronic messages looking for code words and significant phrases, like “the hummus is fresh.” But that’s for the good of the country, right? I mean if you text a dirty picture to your girl friend, no FBI agent is going to see that, is he—or she?
So not only did this whole non-story evolve from email, but it also involves another, deeper point, which is the privilege of power and influence held by that famous one percent. It seems that ANOTHER player in this drama, Jill Kelly, got a threatening email (well, SHE called it “menacing”) from Broadwell which, more or less, told her to back off from her turf, which was General David Petraeus. Kelly, a “wealthy socialite” (which the New York Times called her), got ticked off or scared or something and she contacted a friend of hers, who just happened to be an FBI agent.
Now, I’m willing to bet that quite a few people in this mighty nation get emails which are threatening, scary, irritating, annoying, intrusive, and just plain creepy, but since they have no FBI contacts, they’re stuck with either going to the cops (good luck with that) or just ignoring them and hoping that they go away. I got a few during the election, but I just chalked it up to overzealous campaign groups demanding I sign on to a petition telling Obama to make his daughters wear longer skirts. It seems to me that the Feebs had no “predicate,” which is a fancy, intelligence-op word meaning they had no reason to go snooping. But they did go snoop, and, wonder of wonders, they uncovered a viper’s nest of juicy, gossipy, nefarious deeds, i.e., an affair, and the possibility that the General MAY have, in an unguarded moment of post-pillow-talk whispering, divulged some National Security information to his biographer-mistress. If any security info was passed, it probably wasn’t pre-pillow talk, since most men have other things on their minds ante coitus than the security of the free world.
Then things really went crazy, involving Marine General John Allen, who succeeded Petraeus in Afghanistan, and who is involved because Allen and Ms, Kelly exchanged emails (reported to be in the hundreds), Jill Kelly’s license plate, which reads “Honorary Counsel”, which is the title she got from South Korea with Petraeus’ help, and then morphed into the issue of our ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, who is rumored to be nominated to be the next Secretary of State after Hillary goes back home to SERIOUSLY contemplate whether she’ll run in 2016. Rice was the conduit through which the administration passed information of the attack in Benghazi which killed, among others, our ambassador to Libya. THAT grew, Topy-like, into a war of words and flushed cheeks in our congress over the President’s veracity as to what REALLY happened there and whether or not we got the whole story (since when, during whatever administration is in power, do we get the whole story? I have serious doubts that anyone in government ever KNOWS the whole story).
This whole mess began with an email (hello, Americans: emails are FOREVER, so if you want to actually have a private life, do it without benefit of electronic means). Why did the FBI have the right to snoop around in this particular case? Because a well-connected person told an agent and the agent somehow thought he was SUPPOSED to pass it along, having consumed some puff pastry at some Tampa lawn party given by Ms. Kelly, and feeling obligated? The fact that this is now being framed as a legitimate inquiry concerning National Security is a pretty lame cover for actuality that the privileged and connected get what they want and use government resources, and a LOT of our money, to get it. There are now a ton of congressional and senate hearings being held (complete with videos of the burning embassy in Benghazi), howls of outrage, and the diminishing likelihood that the election meant both parties will now play nice and get along in the nation’s sandbox, the Congress.
All the side stories of Broadwell’s influence on Petraeus and Kelly’s financial lavishness and excess, her hairdo, her make-up, her self-centeredness are fun, but beside the point. The One Percent has that kind of pull, that kind of access. My neighbor has a small, irritating dog which barks like he was on fire whenever I go out in my own yard. I’m gonna call my dear friend at Homeland Security.
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