Didn’t see this one coming.
CIA Director David Petraeus, who as a four-star general led the “surge” in Iraq that allowed a somewhat graceful American withdrawal from that country, has resigned.
In a letter to CIA employees, Petraeus wrote:
“Yesterday afternoon, I went to the White House and asked the president to be allowed, for personal reasons, to resign from my position as D/CIA. 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. This afternoon, the president graciously accepted my resignation.”
I’m sure that in some quarters, this surprising event will be linked to some sort of conspiracy theory. (And sure enough, Rupert Murdoch steps up to make the claim).
I have no trouble believing that Petraeus withheld the news until after the election, out of respect for the process. But the notion that a man as reputation-conscious as Petraeus concocted or agreed to tell a personally shameful story like this as cover just doesn’t make sense.
There’s no indication whether the other party in the affair worked for the CIA. If so, it compounds the seriousness of Petraeus’ error. But either way, you can’t have a person in that job with that kind of personal secret to keep.
It’s a sad way to end an illustrious career, although I doubt this will be the last we’ll see of Petreaus in public service.
– Jay Bookman