Tag Archive: David Petraeus

Mar 17 2015

TBC: Morning Musing 3.17.15

OK, I totally spaced on it being St Patty’s Day,s o I don’t have anything specifically themed for ya. But I do have 4 articles that are interesting…

First, this is as green as it gets today, but it is kind of round about green. Not sure how I feel about the idea, but it would make things interesting to say the least:

Al Gore should run for president

To many Democrats, the fight the party needs is clear: Hillary Clinton vs. Elizabeth Warren. But the differences between Warren and Clinton are less profound than they appear. Warren goes a bit further than Clinton does, both in rhetoric and policy, but her agenda is smaller and more traditional than she makes it sound: tightening financial regulation, redistributing a little more, tying up some loose ends in the social safety net. Given the near-certainty of a Republican House, there is little reason to believe there would be much difference between a Warren presidency and a Clinton one.

The most ambitious vision for the Democratic Party right now rests with a politician most have forgotten, and whom no one is mentioning for 2016: Al Gore.

Jump!

Nov 16 2012

The Last Word on L’affaire de Petraeus

The affair between David Petraeus and a married Tampa socialite was more than just embarrassing it exposed the media’s adoration of a very flawed man, the media’s cover up of his failures and the bigger scandal, the US surveillance state. Three critics of Petraeus weigh in:

Glenn Greenwald: While Petraeus Had Affair with Biographer, Corporate Media Had Affair with Petraeus

The scandal that brought down CIA director David Petraeus has spread to the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen. The Pentagon says the FBI has uncovered thousands of “potentially inappropriate” emails between Allen and Jill Kelley, the woman who complained of harassment from Petraeus’ biographer and lover, Paula Broadwell. Kelley’s complaint to the FBI led to the discovery of Broadwell and Petraeus’ relationship, prompting Petraeus’ resignation on Friday. We’re joined by Guardian columnist and blogger Glenn Greenwald

Transcript can be read here

Petraeus scandal is reported with compelled veneration of all things military

by Glenn Greenwald

The reverence for the former CIA Director is part of a wider religious-like worship of the national security state.

A prime rule of US political culture is that nothing rivets, animates or delights the political media like a sex scandal. From Bill Clinton, Gary Hart, and Eliot Spitzer to John Edwards, Larry Craig and David Vitter, their titillation and joy is palpable as they revel in every last arousing detail. This giddy package is delivered draped in a sanctimonious wrapping: their excitement at reporting on these scandals is matched only by their self-righteous condemnations of the moral failings of the responsible person.

All of these behaviors have long been constant, inevitable features of every political sex scandal – until yesterday. Now, none of these sentiments is permitted because the newest salacious scandal features at its center Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned yesterday as CIA Director, citing an extramarital affair.

FBI’s abuse of the surveillance state is the real scandal needing investigation

by Glenn Greenwald

That the stars of America’s national security establishment are being devoured by out-of-control surveillance is a form of sweet justice

The Petraeus scandal is receiving intense media scrutiny obviously due to its salacious aspects, leaving one, as always, to fantasize about what a stellar press corps we would have if they devoted a tiny fraction of this energy to dissecting non-sex political scandals (this unintentionally amusing New York Times headline from this morning – “Concern Grows Over Top Military Officers’ Ethics” – illustrates that point: with all the crimes committed by the US military over the last decade and long before, it’s only adultery that causes “concern” over their “ethics”). Nonetheless, several of the emerging revelations are genuinely valuable, particularly those involving the conduct of the FBI and the reach of the US surveillance state. [..]

That is the first disturbing fact: it appears that the FBI not only devoted substantial resources, but also engaged in highly invasive surveillance, for no reason other than to do a personal favor for a friend of one of its agents, to find out who was very mildly harassing her by email. The emails Kelley received were, as the Daily Beast reports, quite banal and clearly not an event that warranted an FBI investigation: [..]

Based on what is known, what is most disturbing about the whole Petraeus scandal is not the sexual activities that it revealed, but the wildly out-of-control government surveillance powers which enabled these revelations. What requires investigation here is not Petraeus and Allen and their various sexual partners but the FBI and the whole sprawling, unaccountable surveillance system that has been built.

Michael Hastings Takes Down Media For Promoting and Mythologizing David Petraeus

BuzzFeed‘s, Michael Hastings was not just harsh on David Peraeus but also took one of CNN’s own reporters for her fawning reporting, repeating the Pentagon talking points without question.

The transcript can be read here

h/t Heather at Crooks and Liars

The Sins Of General David Petraeus

by Michael Hastings

Petraeus seduced America. We should never have trusted him.

The fraud that General David Petraeus perpetrated on America started many years before the general seduced Paula Broadwell, a lower-ranking officer 20 years his junior, after meeting her on a campus visit to Harvard.

More so than any other leading military figure, Petraeus’ entire philosophy has been based on hiding the truth, on deception, on building a false image. “Perception” is key, he wrote in his 1987 Princeton dissertation: “What policymakers believe to have taken place in any particular case is what matters – more than what actually occurred.”

Yes, it’s not what actually happens that matters – it’s what you can convince the public it thinks happened.

But the final word  on L’affaire de Petraeus goes the host of The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert and his guest All My Children soap star, Susan Lucci.

General’s Hospital

David Petraeus’ affair is all anybody in Washington can talk about, which might be why the country is in financial ruin.

“I think the news has jumped the shark” and that’s the “word.”

Nov 13 2012

Desperate Housewives of the Defense Department: Up Date

I’ve been a little busy with the on going disaster that was left by Hurricane Sandy, but not too busy to have missed the latest MSM obsession the soap opera of the “Petraeus Affair.” As it turns out this little episode was brought to us by a sex obsessed, “shirtless, Tea Party sympathizing FBI agent” and an out of control surveillance state. Like Atrios, I am not surprised that the PTB and the MSM will not recognize the real problem here, the surveillance state that the Bush/Obama regimes have created:

Even with this happening, I don’t expect the people who rule us to suddenly realize that the FBI trolling through emails looking for unapproved sexytime might be a problem.

Jane Mayer, in The New Yorker, “puzzles” about the politics of the “affair:”

There seem to be some potentially fascinating political aspects of this story that have yet to be explored. Why, for instance, did this news explode publicly when it did? Both the New York Times and the Washington Post report that the F.B.I. had found, after months of investigation, that neither retired General David Petraeus, now the former director of the C.I.A., nor the woman with whom he was evidently involved, his biographer Paula Broadwell, had broken any laws. Congressional intelligence officials reportedly want to know why they were not informed earlier that the F.B.I. was investigating Petraeus. But what I am wondering is why, if the F.B.I. had indeed concluded that they had no criminal case, this matter was brought to anyone’s attention at all. [..]

But what, exactly, was this F.B.I. employee trying to expose? Was he blowing the whistle on his bosses? If so, why? Was he dissatisfied with their apparent exoneration of Petraeus? Given that this drama was playing out in the final days of a very heated Presidential campaign, and he was taking a potentially scandalous story to the Republican leadership in Congress, was there a political motive?

It doesn’t break my heart to see him go. I always thought putting ex-military men in charge of the civilian CIA was a bad idea that would just get us into more foreign wars. Echidne, writing on her blog, points out that Petraeus is not exactly a “flaming liberal” and cites this passage from an article in The Washington Post:

Since his first combat tour in Iraq in 2003, Petraeus had cultivated a cadre of a few dozen loyal staff officers, many of whom had doctoral degrees from top universities and taught at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Usually, he personally selected these men and women to serve on his staff.

In Afghanistan, the retinue grew as people drawn to his fame and eager to launch their own careers took up positions for him in Kabul. “He didn’t seek out these people, but he also didn’t turn them away,” said an officer who spent 40 months working for Petraeus in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Prominent members of conservative, Washington-based defense think tanks were given permanent office space at his headquarters and access to military aircraft to tour the battlefield. They provided advice to field commanders that sometimes conflicted with orders the commanders were getting from their immediate bosses.

Some of Petraeus’s staff officers said he and the American mission in Afghanistan benefited from the broader array of viewpoints, but others complained that the outsiders were a distraction, the price of his growing fame.

Of course no one in the MSM is asking why this was done without a warrant, since Jill Kelley’s complaint was about harassing e-mails about her association with Gen. Petraeus. But, hey, they’re keeping us safe from those terrorists.

I find that rather amusing, since former CIA Director and retired Army general, David Petraeus is one of the right wing’s “hope” for a shot at the White House in 2016 was brought down with the very same “tool”, unfettered surveillance, that the right wingers claim is keeping America safe.  Whatever the motivation was, I also have a sneaking suspicion since the right wing media is  wondering why the President even accepted his resignation and portraying Petraeus as a “victim,” wondering why the President even accepted his resignation that he’ll be back in the near future with his right wing halo all polished.

Up Date: Apparently someone at the New York Times is reading Atrios’ comments:

The F.B.I. investigation that toppled the director of the C.I.A. and now threatens to tarnish the reputation of the top American commander in Afghanistan underscores a danger that civil libertarians have long warned about: that in policing the Web for crime, espionage and sabotage, government investigators will unavoidably invade the private lives of Americans. [..]

For privacy advocates, the case sets off alarms.

“There should be an investigation not of the personal behavior of General Petraeus and General Allen but of what surveillance powers the F.B.I. used to look into their private lives,” Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in an interview. “This is a textbook example of the blurring of lines between the private and the public.” [..]

But the events of the last few days have shown how law enforcement investigators who plunge into the private territories of cyberspace looking for one thing can find something else altogether, with astonishingly destructive results. [..]

But some commentators have renewed an argument that a puritanical American culture overreacts to sexual transgressions that have little relevance to job performance. “Most Americans were dismayed that General Petraeus resigned,” said Mr. Romero of the A.C.L.U.

Am I “dismayed” over Petraeus’ resignation? No, since I don’t think he should be in charge of the CIA in the first place. I am dismayed that about the surveillance state that caused it and loss of our right to privacy that conservatives hypocritically opine when they complain about “big government.”

Nov 09 2012

CIA Director Resigns

The Director to the CIA, General (ret.) David Petraeus has resigned as Director of the CIA citing an extramarital affair. He tendered his letter of resignation to President Barack Obama this afternoon. Pres. Obama has “graciously” accepted his resignation. MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell broke the story.

   HEADQUARTERS Central Intelligence Agency

   9 November 2012

   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.

   As I depart Langley, I want you to know that it has been the greatest of privileges to have served with you, the officers of our Nation’s Silent Service, a work force that is truly exceptional in every regard.  Indeed, you did extraordinary work on a host of critical missions during my time as director, and I am deeply grateful to you for that.

   Teddy Roosevelt once observed that life’s greatest gift is the opportunity to work hard at work worth doing.  I will always treasure my opportunity to have done that with you and I will always regret the circumstances that brought that work with you to an end.

   Thank you for your extraordinary service to our country, and best wishes for continued success in the important endeavors that lie ahead for our country and our Agency.

   With admiration and appreciation,

   David H. Petraeus

There will be a lot of speculation that Gen. Petraeus’ departure was motivated by the Benghazi incident and the his private affair is an excuse to cover that. The reality is anything that can be used to “blackmail” someone in a high security position is a huge problem. I never thought the general was a good choice to run the Agency for many reasons, not the least was his Pentagon ties and the joint police and CIA operations in New York City spying on the Muslim community and #OWS participants.

Jun 26 2011

Keeping The Door Open To Torture

During his confirmation hearings to replace Leon Panetta as CIA director, General David Petraeus, the Nato commander in Afghanistan, told Senate Intelligence Committee that:

(Sen. Mark) Udall was clearly trying to get Petraeus to reiterate his opposition to torture – he read back several quotes Petraeus himself had given saying such techniques are immoral and when they’ve been used, they’ve “turned around and bitten us in the backside.” Udall asked, “do you see torture any differently in a CIA context than in a military context?”

But Petraeus instead pivoted to the TV-ready “ticking time bomb” scenario, and said torture might be justified if you have a “special situation” where an “individual in your hands who you know has placed a nuclear device under the Empire State Building. It goes off in 30 minutes, he has the codes to turn it off.” Then he urged legislators to consider crafting such an exception into the law:

I think that is a special case. I think there should be discussion of that by policymakers and by Congress. I think that it should be thought out ahead of time. There should be a process if indeed there is going to be something more than, again, the normal techniques employed in such a case. And again, I — I would certainly submit that that would be very helpful if that kind of debate could be held and if some resolution could be made as to what should be done in a case like that so that it is worked out ahead of time, rather than under an extraordinary sense of pressure in such a situation.

Torture is not a value that Americans have died for and it is beyond being stupid, it is illegal.

Apr 30 2011

CIA: An Arm of the Military?

A More Militarized CIA for a More Militarized America

The first four Directors of the CIA (from 1947-1953) were military officers, but since then, there has been a tradition (generally though imperfectly observed) of keeping the agency under civilian rather than military leadership. That’s why George Bush’s 2006 nomination of Gen. Michael Hayden to the CIA provoked so many objections from Democrats (and even some Republicans).

The Hayden nomination triggered this comment from the current Democratic Chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein: “You can’t have the military control most of the major aspects of intelligence. The CIA is a civilian agency and is meant to be a civilian agency.” The then-top Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, Jane Harman, said “she hears concerns from civilian CIA professionals about whether the Defense Department is taking over intelligence operations” and “shares those concerns.” On Meet the Press, Nancy Pelosi cited tensions between the DoD and the CIA and said: “I don’t see how you have a four-star general heading up the CIA.” Then-Sen. Joe Biden worried that the CIA, with a General in charge, will “just be gobbled up by the Defense Department.” Even the current GOP Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Pete Hoekstra, voiced the same concern about Hayden: “We should not have a military person leading a civilian agency at this time.”

Of course, like so many Democratic objections to Bush policies, that was then and this is now. Yesterday, President Obama announced — to very little controversy — that he was nominating Gen. David Petraeus to become the next CIA Director. The Petraeus nomination raises all the same concerns as the Hayden nomination did, but even more so: Hayden, after all, had spent his career in military intelligence and Washington bureaucratic circles and thus was a more natural fit for the agency; by contrast, Petraues is a pure military officer and, most of all, a war fighting commander with little background in intelligence. But in the world of the Obama administration, Petraeus’ militarized, warrior orientation is considered an asset for running the CIA, not a liability.

That’s because the CIA, under Obama, is more militarized than ever, as devoted to operationally fighting wars as anything else, including analyzing and gathering intelligence….

Apr 27 2011

National Security Musical Chairs

While everyone was focusing on the bogus issue of President Obama’s citizenship and busily examining the authenticity of the newly released long form, there was a national security shake up going on that finally got it’s 5 minutes of attention by the media. Defense Secretary Robert Gates had announced that he would be leaving the Pentagon this year. There was some speculation about his replacement that included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She has since made it clear that she was not interested and would remain in the critical job steering Obama’s rudderless foreign policy. By law, the Defense Secretary must be a civilian and disqualified if having served in the military in the last 10 years, thus eliminating any of the current or recently retired generals.

The President met this morning with his national security advisors at the White house and announced that current CIA Director Leon Panetta would be replacing Gates and Gen. David Petraeus, the current Afghan war commander, would take over the CIA. The other announcement at the meeting was that Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who was ambassador to Iraq under President Bush, would move to Afghanistan to become the Ambassador there, replacing Karl Eikenberry. One of the most experienced diplomats in the foreign service Crocker has also served as Ambassador to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Marine Lt. Gen. John Allen would replace Petraeus as the commander of the war effort in Afghanistan. Not yet decided, or atleast not announced today was who would replace retiring Gen, Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Once again, as we did with Bush CIA Director, Gen. Michael Hayden who continued to wear his uniform, the military dominates the national security agencies. As David Dayen puts it

So the merging of the military and the intelligence community is complete. Within a few years it’ll just be one big black op. The good news is they can cut the military budget then, and put everything into the secret, off-the-books intelligence budget so as not to raise suspicion.

h/t David Dayen at FDL

The New York Times

Susan Crabtree at Talking Points Memo

Jul 13 2010

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – The Real Costs of Fossil Fuels

Crossposted at Daily Kos

Matt Bors

Matt Bors, Comics.com (Idiot Box)

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