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10 November 2012


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Bill Wade

The title of Broadwell's hagiography of Petraeus is "All in. The education of David Petraeus".

We now understand the "all in" part, but what is behind "the education" of "peaches" as he was nicknamed?

There is a nice amazon review of her book.


Link to the review



"Petraeus married the daughter of the superintendant (president) of the place. This officer was a major general. Throughout his career Petraeus carefully maneuvered to maximize his potential for promotion. He has a terrible reputation in the Army for egomania smoothly concealed beneath the appearance of the warrior scholar."

Quite a description! A "political" officer from the get-go.

I had not thought of reading the amazon.com reviews of "All in". (A little slow this morning). This comment from one of them is priceless: "Paula is obviously a fan and didn't have any objectivity in the book. Petraeus is either awesome or super awesome. OK. Got it. Next?"

As between the two of them, I find I have some sympathy for her but not him. He'll recover. The social climbing "homecoming queen and valedictorian" from Bismarck, North Dakota? Not so much.


Though I've never met the man, what you say seems to ring true. Security integrity is crucial, and Petraeus seems to have made an abysmal breach, which undercuts his judgement and capacity. I also expected that the affair was also a conduct breach that he could not sustain.

However, I wouldn't saddle Petraeus with the political destiny of Iraq. That die was cast when W and the neocon cabal decided to invade Iraq, overthrow Saddam, and exclude the Sunnis from governance and administration. The military did what it was ordered to do, for better and for worse. Petraeus was fortunate that the Awakening came along when it did, and it is what was responsible for his further rise.

The timing of the announcement is intriguing. Perhaps it could have come before the election, and I wonder what impact that might have had? Perhaps this was the October Surprise that the Republicans had been banking on? With Obama's reelection, Petraeus' departure is just the first in a series of personnel transitions.

George Maschke

Mr. Lang, do you have direct knowledge that Petraeus took a lifestyle polygraph pursuant to becoming CIA director? I would assume that he most probably did, because it's standard procedure, but I do not recall ever reading a press account of his having been polygraphed.

In any event, it is wrong to suppose that because of the polygraph, the affair must have begun after Petraeus became CIA director. Polygraphy is thoroughly discredited junk science. While the procedure has a strong inherent bias against the truthful, it is also vulnerable to simple countermeasures.

Moreover, if Petraeus was indeed polygraphed, the polygraph operator would have had a very strong incentive to pass him, regardless of how the polygraph charts zigged or zagged. Indeed, the polygrapher would likely have been more worried than Petraeus about the prospect of losing his job.


What damage has Petreaus done to the Army during his career, for damage there must be?

These people are great haters, no matter how talented they might seem. There has to be a trail of broken and disillusioned men and ruined careers behind this guy.



Did you ever write about the Ted Westhusing reports? I'd be interested in your thoughts on his accusations of Petraeus.

Hard Hearted Empath


You write:

"Petraeus was given a ‘life-style’ polygraph at CIA before his confirmation hearing at the senate for the CIA job. If he had been having sex with this woman or any other person other than his wife it would have been apparent from that examination. The conclusion one must reach from that is that the affair began after he took over CIA."

Yet IMO a relationship of this kind seems more likely to have begun before he became CIA Director than after it. She traveled with him in Afghanistan and he was her mentor for "a couple years" by her account. Petraeus then became CIA Director on 6 Sept. 2011. I suppose it is possible that they "waited" until then, when his profile was "lower."

Her book was published on 24 Jan. 2012. That means that it had to have been finished and submitted for publication before became CIA Director. Even on a crash schedule, she would have had to have finished writing the book by about Aug. 2011. Perhaps they met after that to "discuss the galleys."

Ron Kessler (whose role as an FBI shill I do not respect, but who, as Stein notes, has a good pipeline to the Bureau) reports: "At some point after Petraeus was sworn in as CIA director on Sept. 6, 2011, the woman broke up with him. However, Petraeus continued to pursue her, sending her thousands of emails over the last several months, raising even more questions about his judgment."


I don't know that "thousands" of emails is likely. But: Is it not conceivable that he admitted to the affair in the polygraph? And that Obama gave him a pass? Maybe not only because of P's profile and status, but because it would be messy to retract the nomination? Maybe also because Petraeus would then 'owe' the president and his political loyalty would be assured? Not a moot point because of Gen. P's frequently discussed status as a possible Republican presidential candidate? Maybe Petraeus averred/pledged the affair over? Mayve what the FBI discovered was that it was not over? Or maybe the FBI did not learn that this pre-polygraph affair existed at all until the more recent unrelated probe? Could the CIA's Office of Security have done the polygraph and disclosed its results to the White House but not to the FBI?

If any of the above are the case, then the NYT might be priming us for a broader inquiry into Obama's judgment in this matter:

"The revelation of a secret inquiry into the head of the nation’s premier spy agency raised urgent questions about... the decision by Mr. Obama to elevate him to head the agency after leading the country’s war effort in Afghanistan."

Why are the questions "urgent," hmm?


Bill H

My nephew briefed Petraeus at one point and thought his questions were shallow, unimaginative and indicated that he had not listened to and/or had not understood the briefing. He concluded the man was a better politician than he was a general.

I listened to him testifying to Congress about missing weapons in Iraq and telling them how his command was "so desperate to distribute weapons" that they were "literally kicking them out the doors" of helicopters at hot landing zones. It was clear to me that he was either stupid or lying at that point. Since when do you throw weapons out of helicopters when you don't know which side will pick them up? Not to mention that, given the amount of weapons that were missing, something like 3500 helicopters would have been required to carry them. Congress, of course, lapped it up and thanked him for his service.



Yes, it is possible that he admitted to the affair and the president overlooked it. If that is the case, then BHO was foolish. Such a thing is bound to come back and bite you in the ass. Another possibility is that the affair had not been consummated physically when he was polygraphed. Emotional attachments to American citizens are not considered to be disqualifying. pl



I have not read the material and have not written on it. pl



Your analysis of him is correct. I know of half a dozen very talented colonels who were supposed to be promoted when he was head of the BG promotion board and were not. The only explanation is what you would would expect. pl


Just one look at all the achievement ribbons, badges, campaign ribbons, and who knows what what tells me enough.

Petraeus type generals are a big reason why the transformation of the military in the coming economic realities will be very difficult. History will not be kind to Petraeus.

I do think there is much more to this story, not just the affairs alone.

Hard Hearted Empath

See the The second "letter" to the New York Times columnist Chuck Klosterman from this past summer at the linke below. Coudld this letter have been written by Broadwell's husband? Could this letter have caught the notice of the FBI or of someone in the USG?




I note that you belong to the "anti-polygraph organization." In my experience in using it as an operational tool and as the subject of numerous counter-intelligence polygraphs I found the machine in the hands of a skilled operator to be very effective. pl


He thought PowerPoint was a useful tool. Case closed.

Charles I

yet apparently sociopaths, narcissists and psychopaths are amongst the most adept at defeating the machine and the operator, because they believe themselves. . . like politicians.

Charles I

huh! Now that's the Committee coughing up some Correspondence in the most . . . I'm at a loss for an adjective here, whoever wrote that letter. Bravo!

The Beaver

Interesting bit:

E. Johnson

Yes, Colonel Lang, clever. But evidently not clever enough to recognize a flawed defense against personal heat-seeking rockets.

Clifford Kiracofe

He spent some time at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. This is the Establishment's foreign policy grand lodge. His ability to sell COIN and the Afghan escalation seems to me to have been enhanced by this connection.

President Obama unwisely escalated in Afghanistan and unwisely selected the clever boy for DCIA. One would hope the president will be more careful in his appointments during the next four years. The president and the citizens of this Republic were ill-served by this poster boy. There are lessons to be learned.

Another example was Deutsch as DCIA.
" Soon after Deutch's departure from the CIA in 1996 it was revealed that classified materials had been kept on several of Deutch's laptop computers designated as unclassified. In January 1997, the CIA began a formal security investigation of the matter. Senior management members at the CIA declined to fully pursue the security breach. More than two years after his departure, the matter was referred to the Department of Justice, where Attorney General Janet Reno declined to prosecute. She did, however, recommend an investigation to determine whether Deutch should retain his security clearance.[26] President Clinton issued a Presidential pardon on his last day in office."

One could surmise the Deutsch case related to Israel.

Petreaus' case seems related to his zipper at first glance but there may be more. Depending on what the Bureau finds, it may be necessary to do an overall damage assessment as to what and how classified information may have been compromised and operations impacted.

Allen Thomson

> A secondary consideration that is unappreciated by civilians is that as a retired US Army officer Petraeus is still subject to UCMJ and its prohibition of adultery, a crime under UCMJ punishable by a dishonorable discharge and a year in prison.

Have there been cases in which the UCMJ prohibition of adultery has been successfully used against a retiree?


Alen Thomson

No idea but IMO that is unimportant. The liability of the possibility of having someone prefer charges would be overwhelming as a threat of disgrace especially when combined with the security clearance investigation. pl


Charles I

The "box" is only as good as the operator. The Soviets trained people to make it impossible for completed tests. I don't believe this guy could do that against a skilled operator. in my experience the machine measures fear of detection. pl

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