David Petraeus was betrayed by his own bodyguards and vengeful high-ranking enemies in the CIA, who made sure his affair with his biographer was exposed to the public, a new book claims.
MailOnline can reveal a new angle on the story that rocked Washington last fall. It comes from two retired special operations commandos – a Navy SEAL and a Green Beret – who say they discovered a plot against the former CIA director while doing research about the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Senior CIA officers targeted Petraeus because they didn’t like the way he was running the agency – focusing more on paramilitary operations than intelligence analysis. They used their political clout and their connections to force an FBI investigation of his affair with Paula Broadwell and make it public, according to Benghazi: The Definitive Report.
‘It was high-level career officers on the CIA who got the ball rolling on the investigation. It was basically a palace coupe to get Petraeus out of there,’ Jack Murphy, one of the authors, told MailOnline.
Murphy and co-author Brandon Webb also revealed that the September 11 Benghazi terrorist attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, was retaliation by Islamist militants who had been targeted by covert U.S. military operations.
The book claims that neither Stevens nor even Petraeus knew about the raids by American special operations troops, which had ‘kicked a hornet’s nest’ among the heavily-armed fighters after the overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser, had been authorizing ‘unilateral operations in North Africa outside of the traditional command structure,’ according to the e-book. Brennan is Obama’s pick to replace Petraeus as head of the CIA.
Benghazi: The Definitive Report, published by William Morrow and Company, is due out in e-book on Tuesday. The authors, Webb and Murphy, are editors of SOFREP.com, a site devoted to news and stories written by current and former special operations commandos.
Perhaps the most startling accusation in the book is that Petraeus’ affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell was leaked by the members of his personal protection detail.
The authors say that senior intelligence officers working on the 7th floor of Central Intelligence headquarters in Langley, Virginia, used their political clout to ensure that the FBI investigated the former Army general’s personal life.
They then told Petraeus that they would publicly humiliate him if he didn’t admit the affair and resign.
‘It was well known to Petraeus’s Personal Security Detachment (bodyguards) that he and Broadwell were having an affair. He wasn’t the only high-ranking Agency head or general engaged in extramarital relations, but when the 7th floor wanted Petraeus out, they cashed in their chips,’ Webb and Murphy write.
The book continues: ‘The reality of the situation is that high-ranking CIA officers had already discovered the affair by consulting with Petraeus’s PSD and then found a way to initiate an FBI investigation in order to create a string of evidence and an investigative trail that led to the information they already had – in other words, an official investigation that could be used to force Petraeus to resign.’
Webb and Murphy said the CIA bureaucracy wanted Petraeus out of the CIA. Senior officials were furious over the way he had been running the agency since he was appointed in September 2011.
He was turning the agency’s focus from intelligence gathering and analysis to paramilitary operations, including drone strikes.
Additionally, he ran the CIA like a four-star general, instead of treating it like a political institution, the authors say. His management style made countless powerful enemies within the CIA.
On November 9, three days after Obama’s reelection, Petraeus shocked the nation by resigning as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and admitting that he had been sleeping with Broadwell – whom he had met while she was researching her biography of him, ‘All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.’
Before he was publicly castigated, Petraeus was the most high-profile and highly-respected commander in the military. His counter-insurgency strategy was credited with turning the tide in the Iraq War and securing the country so U.S. troops could withdraw. He also commanded a surge of American forces in Afghanistan.