ClassicWHO: Why Petraeus Takedown May Have Been an Inside Job

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In this post from February 2013, Douglas Lucas and Russ Baker uncovered a whole new possible explanation of how General David Petraeus’s extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell may have been merely a tool in a little-understood battle within the U.S. military/intelligence establishment.

The result, of course, was the removal of the ex-Pentagon leader as CIA chief and the ascendancy of a rival, the longtime CIA man John Brennan.

Since our story first appeared, Petraeus has landed on his feet and in a typical fashion for a retired four-star general—in the corporate world, the one corner of the iron triangle of government, politics and business left open to him. Since May 2013, he’s been the chairman of the KKR Global Institute, the geopolitical arm of private equity giant KKR.

Most recently, he was out on a tour of the fracking fields in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale, which raised some eyebrows over the access Petraeus and KKR had to the state’s treasurer and land board.

Read on for our investigation on why Petraeus may have gotten to a lucrative corporate job earlier than he planned:

Was the ambitious General David Petraeus targeted for take-down by competing interests in the US military/intelligence hierarchy—years before his abrupt downfall last year in an adultery scandal?

Previously unreported documents analyzed by WhoWhatWhy suggest as much. They provide new insight into the scandalous extramarital romance that led to Petraeus’s resignation as CIA director in November after several years of rapid rise—going from a little-known general to a prospective presidential candidate in a stunningly brief time frame.

Among other revelations the documents show that:

-Petraeus was suspected of having an extramarital affair nearly two years earlier than previously known.

-Petraeus’s affair was known to foreign interests with a stake in a raging policy and turf battle in which Petraeus was an active party.

-Those providing the “official” narrative of the affair—and an analysis of why it led to the unprecedented removal of America’s top spymaster— have been less than candid with the American people.

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According to internal emails of the Austin-based private intelligence firm Stratfor, General David Petraeus was drawing attention to his private life much earlier than previously believed. Because it was his private life that resulted in his being forced out as CIA director, alterations in our understanding of the time frame are significant.

Until now, the consensus has been that Petraeus began an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, in the fall of 2011, after he retired from the military and took over the CIA.

Lt. Col. John Nagl, a friend of Petraeus, claims the Petraeus-Broadwell extramarital affair did not begin until after Petraeus became CIA director, which was in September 2011. And retired US Army Col. Steve Boylan, a former Petraeus spokesperson, says the affair did not begin until several months after August 2011, when Petraeus retired from the Army.

But documents—researched by WhoWhatWhy and published for the first time as part of an investigative partnership with WikiLeaks—suggest otherwise. These documents characterize Petraeus as having regular dinners in early 2010 with Abdulwahab al-Hajri, then Yemen’s ambassador to the US, and note that Petraeus brought to at least one of those dinners a woman “not his wife”—whom the Yemenis believed was “his mistress.” It’s possible—although not confirmed—that this woman was Paula Broadwell, Petraeus’s biographer and mistress, who sent allegedly threatening emails that spawned the strange FBI investigation that precipitated the former Army general’s resignation on November 9, 2012.

Stratfor has a longstanding position of not commenting on the emails obtained by WikiLeaks. The company’s boilerplate public response regarding the internal documents in WikiLeaks’ possession is that it “will not be victimized twice by submitting to questioning about them.”

Petraeus’s attorney, Robert Barnett, declined to comment.

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