In Washington, when the official line seems improbable, people often say, “It doesn’t pass the smell test.” There’s a lot that stinks at the moment about the Benghazigate affair, including now the circumstances involving the forced resignation of a man in the middle of it: President Obama’s CIA Director and former four-star Army General David Petraeus.
Within hours of the jihadist attack in Libya on September 11 that killed four Americans, the administration started dissembling and lying about what happened. Gen. Petraeus could surely shed light on the matter. But — because of an affair the FBI knew about for months, yet we supposedly didn’t mention to the White House until the night of the election — he’s out. Consequently, the general won’t testify at any of the three congressional hearings called to look into the Benghazi debacle later this week.
This really stinks, and Congress needs to find out why. Here are some lines of inquiry that cry out for no-holds-barred investigation:
- According to a November 12th Fox News item, “White House Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan reportedly was aware that there was a relationship as early as the summer of 2011.” That is at odds with the timeline now being fed to press outlets like the Washington Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal that were incalculably helpful to the President’s reelection bid by keeping a lid on the Benghazigate story until after the election. These news organizations are reporting that the FBI told only the Attorney General and a small number of his subordinates “last summer.” The party line claims that was because guidelines promulgated during the previous administration would preclude the Bureau or Justice Department from giving a heads-up to the White House or congressional intelligence committees.
- Who in the government actually knew that the Central Intelligence Agency director had been compromised, and when did they know it
- We have learned that Gen. Petraeus‘ lover, Paula Broadwell, had classified information on her personal computer. She and her paramour both deny that he was its source. It is unclear whether either was polygraphed, or whether the FBI is simply taking their word for it. Either way, we need to know if the security breach (whatever its provenance) is going to be pursued. Or will it be dropped, with potentially far-reaching implications for how others treat state secrets?
- Citing multiple intelligence sources who had served in Benghazi, the aforementioned Fox News report indicates, moreover, that Ms. Broadwell appears to have actually disclosed such secrets. It seems she revealed in a speech at the University of Denver in October that the so-called CIA “annex” in Benghazi was being used to detain and interrogate jihadists from around the region. The Agency vehemently denies this account, noting that the CIA has not had the authority to engage in such activities since President Obama expressly eliminated it in an executive order upon taking office in January 2009. Still, if the Broadwell revelation — which, it seems reasonable to surmise, came from her intimate access to a man who would have known the truth – is any indication, Team Obama would have had plenty of reason to worry about the damage Gen. Petraeus could do to its hopes for reelection.