The latest twists and turns in the Petraeus scandal are making my head spin like just so many rinse cycles, and it’s starting to look like the Pentagon has been getting more action than Charlie Sheen on a crack binge.
It all started with the revelation that General David Petraeus was having – or had had – an affair with Paula Broadwell, his married biographer. This led to his resignation as CIA Director. There were sleazy emails about sex under a desk and of course the contrite resignation speech, which included him spouting the obligatory ‘…colossal mistake…poor judgement…deep regret…sorry I hurt my wife…blah blah blah…’ claptrap.
(Holly, by the way, is not well pleased and it looks like those who pegged her as some meek and mild military spouse had it completely wrong. Someone close to the story says ‘furious would be an understatement’. Well, Holly, use that anger to propel yourself forward to a better life without someone who clearly has some boundary issues, to say the least.)
Anyway, it all seemed like your run of the mill powerful middle-aged married man affair with a hero-worshiping younger woman who made him feel all oogly-woogly. Common as muck and fun to read about for a day or two but not all that shocking in the grander scheme of things. The one niggling question is when did the affair with Broadwell begin? Petraeus met her in 2006 but insists the affair did not start until after he was appointed Director of the CIA, 2011. If the affair kicked off before he retired from the military his pension could be in danger, as adultery, particularly by a high-reanking officer, is a big no-no.
The whole mess blew wide open when Broadwell allegedly started sending a Florida woman named Jill Kelley harrassing emails. It’s unclear exactly what was said in the emails, although reports range from Broadwell warning Kelley off ‘her’ man to Broadwell accusing Kelley of touching the General ‘inappropriately’ under a table (all this under the furniture stuff, eh?) to Broadwell essentially telling Kelley she dresses and acts like a ho-bag. Mean Girl stuff, it would seem.
Whether or not the also married Kelley actually was the other other woman to Petraeus hasn’t been clear, although it now appears she may have been the other woman to another man, who also happens to be a high-reanking general. You still with me? I hope so, because here’s where it gets hilariously imbecilic.
Kelley was spooked enough by the tone of the Broadwell emails that she contacted an FBI friend about them, which set off a chain of events that, I’m not even kidding, would not make the cut for a story line on your favourite soap opera. Too complicated and too high school. But, as the saying goes, truth is stranger than fiction.
Here’s what happened next: when Kelley told the FBI agent friend about the allegedly harassing emails from Broadwell he reported the matter to the cyber crimes unit, which opened an investigation. At some point the agent was removed from the case over concerns he was becoming obsessed. Why did they think he was becoming obsessed? Well, because he was sending topless photos of himself to Jill Kelley. You can’t make this shit up.
When the agent was dismissed from the case he became concerned that the FBI was going to sweep the matter under the rug in the name of political expediency so he contacted Congressman David Reichert (R- Wash.). From there the information made it’s way back to FBI headquarters.
It’s not clear how the next piece of the puzzle came into play but during the course of the investigation it was discovered that Jill Kelley and the very much married 58-year-old General John Allen (who is currently leading the troops in Afghanistan), had exchanged 20 to 30 thousand pages of emails between 2010 and 2012. Yes, that’s between 20 and 30 thousand, which is, as I read somewhere, sort of like they wrote the entire Harry Potter series in under three years. It’s rumoured that the emails contain ‘inappropriate’ exchanges and there is a ‘distinct possibility’ they are linked with Petraeus.
This brings us to the obvious question of where in hell did General Allen find time to lead his troops if he was glued to his laptop half the day? Averaging 19 pages of emails a day, every day, is by any measure a lot of freaking emails. And the fallout from this? Allen’s expected appointment as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander has been put on hold and will most likely be quashed.
Honestly, just how stupid are these supposed leaders? Your average 15-year-old knows better than to leave a cyber trail when up to no good, yet these geniuses are either using their work email or, even better, bloody gmail to carry on their nefarious activities. No wonder no one can figure a way out of Afghanistan – they’re all too busy screwing around then spending whatever time they have left covering up their cheating.
Now, you’d think that the new twists and turns would be enough to keep us satisfied for a day or two but no, there’s more. That’s right, more.
Yesterday about a dozen FBI agents descended on Broadwell’s North Carolina home for what is being called a ‘consensual’ search. They filled boxes and bags and took a lot of pictures. What they were looking for is anybody’s guess because the FBI isn’t talking and no one reporting on the story as yet managed to spring a leak. It appears, though, that during the original investigation, which led to the original affair being exposed, classified documents were found on Broadwell’s computer. Which would most likely be a big no-no, particularly if they came from Petraeus.
So, to recap: Dave was schlepping Paula for an undetermined amount of time. Dave and his wife Holly were friends with Jill and Scott Kelley and Paula not only thought Jill was kind of slutty, she thought Jill was setting her sites on Dave. Jill, meanwhile, has something going on with the married John, with the pair exchanging thousands upon thousands of emails over a two-year period. A furniture fetish of sorts seems to have developed somewhere along the line and, at the minimum, several careers have been shattered, several marriages rocked and possibly destroyed, a number of spouses hurt and humiliated, and innumerable children’s lives irretrievably altered.
It’s a sad, bizarre and strangely funny story that seems to have no end: seemingly intelligent people who you’d think were full of character and integrity pissing it all away for a bit of strange. I wonder if they now think it was worth it.
UPDATE: Looks like Petraeus and Allen wrote letters of support for Jill Kelley’s twin sister while the sister was going through an ugly custody battle. Incredible. It’s going to be interesting to see where this all ends.