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Liberation, France

CIA Scandal: The Big Return of Morality and American Hypocrisy

By Fabrice Rousselot

Translated By Laura Napoli

13 November 2012

Edited by Vic­to­ria Denholm


France - Liberation - Original Article (French)

It seems like the American press was looking for an opportunity to distract America from the somewhat daunting budget discussions for the last few weeks of the year.

For four days now, the press has found what it wanted: a beautiful and juicy CIA scandal, worthy of the best afternoon soap operas, complete with adultery, beautiful women and generals.

After these 92 hours of mass hysteria, we are at least entitled to ask what type of scandal we are really talking about. In a few hours, it’s as if all of a sudden, the knights of American virtue had awakened.

But what are we talking about exactly? Yes, the head of the CIA, the heroic General David Petraeus, had an extramarital affair. So what? We are tempted to say. What does the fact that he had an adulterous relationship with his biographer mean for his job performance?

Nothing, very timid voices in the U.S. began to respond. For Petraeus, the only question that matters is: Did he endanger national security by disclosing classified information? The answer is no, according to the FBI.

So why resign? Yesterday, on CNN, Thomas Ricks, author of the book “The Generals,” became indignant in emphasizing, once again, that the U.S. has mixed public and private life.

The controversy is even more striking with John Allen, the commander in charge of NATO forces in Afghanistan. What is he accused of? Having exchanged “inappropriate” emails with one of the protagonists of the Petraeus “scandal.”

Again, is this really our business? In this case, the only point on which we can question is to know if the fact of having sent more than 30,000 emails didn’t distract him a little from his work. And there’s more…

Yesterday, in a surreal press conference, a reporter asked a White House spokesperson whether the President wasn’t “disgusted by all this.” The same spokesperson responded that Obama had every confidence in Allen and respected Petraeus’s work.

If we keep it there, we hope that Obama will confirm Allen as the head of NATO forces by next year. And that he doesn’t yield to hysterical voices, spokesmen of prudish morality, who are never very far in the U.S. and who confuse privacy and national security.



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