Gen. David Petraeus: a view to high crimes and misdemeanors

How will history judge Gen. Petraeus?

Gen. David Petraeus and Paula Brodwell.

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2015 — “History has yet to fully judge [General David] Petraeus’s service in Iraq and Afghanistan, his impact on the U.S. military and his rank among America’s wartime leaders. But there is no denying that he achieved a great deal during his thirty-seven-year Army career, not the least of which was regaining the strategic initiative in both wars that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.”

That glowing tribute is from Patraeus biographer Paula Brodwell’s book All In. Brodwell, it turned out, was Patraeus’s extramarital bed partner as well.

Two days after the 2012 Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya (the same year All In hit the bookstores), Petraeus testified to Congress that the assault grew out of a spontaneous protest over a little viewed, American-made, anti-Islamic video posted on Youtube – an Obama administration lie the press dubbed the “Benghazi talking points.”

Two months later, after resigning from the CIA when his extramarital affair became public, Petraeus retracted his statement in follow-up testimony before the House Select Committee on Intelligence, saying the Benghazi attack was the work of Al Qaeda and that the CIA new as much earlier than the administration cared to admit.

This infuriated some lawmakers, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., for one. He told Fox News, “The 90 percent conclusion that Gen. Petraeus reached was that this [the Benghazi attack] was caused by the [anti-Islamic] video, and it was a spontaneous demonstration… the one thing he was ruling out was terrorist involvement. I remember when the chairman [Mike Rogers] specifically mentioned to him about the mortar rounds, three mortar rounds landing at the Annex, could that be an indication of terrorist involvement? [Petraeus] said no. He said anybody in Libya could do that.”

It later came to light that Petraeus had removed classified documents (“Black Books”) the U.S. Attorney’s Office described as containing “classified information regarding the identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities… quotes and deliberative discussions from high-level National Security Council meetings” and “Petraeus’s discussions with the President of the United States of America.”

To avoid a messy public trial, the Justice Department charged Petraeus with a misdemeanor for leaking classified information.

The government contends that while he was commanding coalition forces in Afghanistan, Petraeus “never provided the Black Books to his DOD [Department of Defense] historian. Instead, he “personally retained the Black Books.”

His DOD historian?

As I recall, what became known as the Pentagon Papers was a top-secret study (history) commissioned by then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara concerning the U.S. political and military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. Daniel Ellsberg, a former Pentagon analyst, was the “historian” tasked with poring over piles of classified government documents in the course of that particular Rand Corp. project. He famously leaked the classified report to the New York Times.

Beyond the salacious infidelity angle to the Petraeus story, the press (including the New York Times) has expressed little interest in the classified information (history) the general passed to his mistress and biographer. And it must be a humdinger.

Obama administration legal beagles made preventing Patreaus from ever gaining access to those Black Books a top priority. “The defendant waives all rights,” the plea agreement states, “whether asserted directly or by a representative, to request or to receive from any department or agency any records pertaining to the investigation or prosecution of this case, including without limitation any records that may be sought under the Freedom of Information Act.”

In his book The Savior Generals, Victor Davis Hanson notes that Petraeus hoped to serve in Washington after finishing his overseas assignments. However, with Obama’s appointment of Gen. Martin Dempsey “as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Petraeus was passed over – again, amid rumors that the CIA post was considered the proper cul-de-sac for generals with possible political ambitions,” writes Hanson. “In any case, the Obama administration had given Petraeus a key post on its own team and simultaneously denied him more prestigious military assignments.”

It’s no secret that the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan have deteriorated considerably since President Obama dramatically curtailed American involvement in the two operational theaters once under the command of Gen. Petraeus. His Iraq counter-insurgency strategy, “the surge,” decimated Al Qaeda forces, disrupted Shia militias, ensured delivery of basic services and reduced American casualties.

It appears Petraeus and his lover were determined to write the history of his military success in Iraq before it vanishes down the historical rabbit hole dug by Obama apologists in the press and academia.

President Obama’s policies aided fanatical jihadist factions in Libya, some of which attacked our diplomatic post in Benghazi, and created a political and military vacuum in Iraq that the Islamic State was more than happy to fill at the expense of American blood. And was Petraeus privy to Obama’s formulation of an nuclear Iran strategy?

It would be more than a little interesting to read “Petraeus’s discussions with the president of the United States of America” concerning these disasters.

The Obama administration’s plea deal with Petraeus, which slaps the general with a mere misdemeanor for passing government secrets to his biographer, is clearly designed to insure that those verbatim discussions never come to light.

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