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La Nacion, Chile

The CIA: The Hunter, Hunted


By Raúl Sohr

... the suspicion will remain that, beyond [Petraus'] "poor judgment," there were those interested in making him fall.

Translated By Alan Bailey

13 November 2012

Edited by Lau­rence Bouvard


Chile - La Nacion - Original Article (Spanish)

David Petraeus, as director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the boss of American espionage, resigned from his position, citing an extramarital affair. Adultery, as it is called in the American military justice code, constitutes a crime if it is shown that it is “of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, or conduct which is prejudicial to good order and discipline.”

Apart from the moral condemnation that may come from some, the resignation was hastened because of the vulnerability of an authority in a position of such power, though it seems no foreign power found out or took advantage of the situation to blackmail him. It was a counter-intelligence service, the FBI, which, as explained by its leaders, accidentally discovered the decorated general's relationship with the journalist who wrote his biography.

In the world of Anglo-Saxon espionage, the acronym MICE is used to encapsulate the four most common aspects of vulnerability: Money; Ideology, or beliefs; Compromise, or compromising situations generally due to a sexual or wrongful act; and finally Ego, or the desire for fame and recognition. Petraeus, who had financial resources, was admired as the general that led American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and had a clear commitment to the United States, fell because of the letter C, his compromising situation.

The most striking aspect of his case is that he left traces of his relationship in his emails. More than anyone, he knows about the enormous resources and sophisticated methods used to track the virtual world and, of course, the material world. The resigned general communicated with his lover via the translucent Gmail that millions use, not via email protected from the CIA itself.

Whoever assumes command of an intelligence service knows that in that moment, you give up your private life and all possibility of secret intimacy. It's something that comes with the job. So inevitably, speculations arise that there were parties interested in the fall of "King David," as some U.S. media nicknamed him. There are those pointing out that the relationship was already known for some time, and it was hoped that the presidential elections would pass. Others point out that it was a consequence of the CIA’s previous failure [regarding] the assassination of the American ambassador and three of his colleagues in Libya.

Petraeus, in what is now his CIA obituary, declared, "Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as a leader of an organization such as ours." This alludes to his romantic convictions and the undue risk brought upon the institution that he directed. However, the suspicion will remain that, beyond his "poor judgment," there were those interested in making him fall.



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