Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland
American Generals’ Play:
It Was Virtual Sex
By Mariusz Zawadzki
The scandal of the CIA chief who handed in his resignation when the FBI uncovered his love affair is becoming more and more of a farce. But there is also a serious question: Why was it concealed during the election? ... It came as a shock, but it was just the beginning. Today, another prominent general, two women, an FBI agent stripped to the waist and Attorney General Eric Holder are all involved in this affair.
Translated By Michał Bolek
15 November 2012
Edited by Kyrstie Lane
Poland - Gazeta Wyborcza - Original Article (Polish)
The scandal of the CIA chief who handed in his resignation when the FBI uncovered his love affair is becoming more and more of a farce. But there is also a serious question: Why was it concealed during the election?
“After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours,” General David Petraeus wrote in a farewell letter to all CIA employees on Friday, two days after the presidential election.
It came as a shock, but it was just the beginning. Today, another prominent general, two women, an FBI agent stripped to the waist and Attorney General Eric Holder are all involved in this affair.
It is proof that privacy is an illusion in the present-day world and that powerful bureaucratic investigative machinery cannot be stopped once it has gained momentum.
Everything started innocently in the spring of this year. Jill Kelley, a 37-year old from Tampa, Florida complained to a friend from the FBI that someone was sending unpleasant anonymous messages to her email address. Mrs. Kelley, Lebanese by descent, is well-known in the highest circles of the American military, for which she and her husband organized lavish parties. General Petraeus came to one such party in an entourage of 28 motorcycles. Apart from that, Kelley is known for being pretty, for appearing with her twin sister on a culinary television show on which they cooked an alligator, and for being over $2 million in debt.
Ordinarily, surely no one would deal with her complaint. There were no murder threats or blackmail or such in the emails. But Mrs. Kelley’s friend took advantage of his contacts. The FBI machinery was launched. The federal agents began to suspect after several weeks that it was 40-year old Paula Broadwell, the author of Petraeus’ biography, who was sending the anonymous letters.
Mrs. Broadwell is also a surgeon’s wife. She studied at the famous military academy West Point, and she was promoted to the rank of major in the army. Later she returned to civilian life, where she was a model in a gun commercial and wrote a doctoral thesis about leadership, at Harvard University. Many critics claim that her book about Petraeus, released in January, is extremely uncritical. However, it became a bestseller because the general is regarded as one of the most prominent leaders in U.S. history: He changed the course of the war in Iraq and then became the commander in Afghanistan. Broadwell traveled with him for many weeks to collect material for her biography.
FBI agents determined the location from which the anonymous emails were sent, which matched Broadwell’s itineraries. Therefore, they broke into her account, where they accidentally discovered another mysterious email account. They also broke into this and found there the bombshell: love correspondence with the director of the CIA.
In order to not leave a trail on the Internet, they did not send emails to each other. They had a common account to which they both knew the password, and there they saved draft versions of the letters. Thus, they could read them, but the letters did not circulate on the Internet.
Petraeus was regarded in the army as a maniac of modern technology, and he spent many hours a day surfing the Internet. “Every byte left behind reveals information about location, habits, and, by extrapolation, intent and probable behavior,” he said at a meeting with journalists. “I’ve found that our technical capabilities often far exceed what you see in Tom Cruise films. …We have to rethink our notions of identity and secrecy.”*
These Words Turned Out To Be Prophetic
Petraeus had secret, maximum-security accounts for professional matters. The FBI did not find any proof that he broke military secrets or sent something to his lover on Gmail. The contents of his and Broadwell’s common account are ordinary — for example, memories of sex on a desk.
The director of the CIA allegedly ended the love affair when his jealous biographer began to hound Mrs. Kelley, whom she perceived as her rival, with anonymous letters.
However, CIA agents decided that the whole affair was of the highest national importance and must be wholly explained. This is why they also started to question Mrs. Kelley in detail, to such an extent that she panicked and asked to close the investigation that she caused with her own complaint. But it was too late. The agents also broke into her account and found two surprises — a small one and a big one.
The small one was that the FBI agent who is Kelley’s friend, and who made his colleagues begin the investigation, had sent her half-naked pictures of himself. The agent with his naked torso was fully removed from the investigation, and explanatory proceedings concerning his case are in progress.
The big surprise was that Kelley had a rich correspondence with the present Commander-in-Chief of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen. It was announced that their correspondence, printed on A4 sheets, comes to 20 or 30 thousand pages. The character of the letters is described as “flirtatious” and the right wing television channel Fox News is reporting that it was even “virtual sex.” General Allen claims that he has not done anything wrong, and remains Commander-in-Chief in Afghanistan, though his nomination to the position of Commander-in-Chief of NATO was suspended.
Even if Allen’s correspondence was just flirtatious and Petraeus did not convey any secrets to his lover, the army and the intelligence have become a laughing stock anyway. It turned out that the director of the CIA and the commander in Afghanistan — that is, people upon whom the security of America depends, spend much of their time on acquaintances — real or virtual — with two women. The FBI, thanks to the half-naked agent, does not come out very well, either. The comics ask joyfully what it is about Mrs. Kelley that makes the two most important generals in the U.S. hang around her and FBI agents strip for her.
But there is a serious thread in this whole affair that puts the blame on Barack Obama’s administration. Attorney General Eric Holder (supervising the FBI) knew that the director of the CIA had a love affair and this affair had been investigated at least since the summer of this year, but he did not say a word to President Obama or anyone else at all. There is a suspicion verging on certainty that he did it as part of a friendly favor to let his boss calmly win the election, unbothered by scandals.
*Editor’s Note: This quote, accurately translated, was not able to be independently verified in full.
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