The drama unfolding in DC surrounding former CIA Director David Petraeus is only increasing as new details emerge. However, outside of Petraeus' personal life, the scandal is now impacting serious matters of national security.
Monday, the FBI invaded the home of Paula Broadwell, the woman Petraeus was linked to, in North Carolina in a consensual search arranged between the authorities and Broadwell's lawyers to search for any more classified information she may have obtained.
As details have come to light, it is becoming clear Broadwell was privy to more information than most. Last month, in a speech at University of Colorado, while discussing Benghazi she slipped:
“Now I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had actually — had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. So that’s still being vetted.”
The CIA has vehemently denied there was any legitimacy to Broadwell's claims. If the CIA was holding prisoners in the building, they would be in violation of one of Obama's orders given in 2009. There was an incident at roughly the same time where the CIA did detain three suspects in Benghazi. Eli Lake at The Daily Beast writes that perhaps she got the two confused.
However, if she didn't then there is evidence that the shadow operations of the CIA that Obama did put a stop to (in part), are still going on as the administration lies to us.
Such a shadow operation would explain the extreme lack of clarity from the Obama administration. An admission of an attack (which one should remember took a long time to get) would then lead to the question of motivation. Why the Benghazi consulate and not another one? Then of course, an investigation would have to open up (it inevitably did, despite the Obama administration's efforts), and what could that possibly reveal? The public knowledge of secret CIA prisons still operating that, three years after Obama told us the practice would end, weeks before the election, there would be an October surprise that the campaign simply couldn't risk in such a tight race.
Likewise, as demonstrated by the official timeline released by Petraeus' office before the election, there are clear signs that the administration, if anything, made grave mistakes, and possibly abandoned two of our soldiers entirely. What was the reason? Negligence? The politics of sending troops into a sovereign country? Or was there something going on the public can't know about?
General Petraeus' testimony, assuming he tells the truth, which won't happen if its a matter of national security, is essential to a thorough investigation of what happened in Benghazi. While the deputy director Mike Morrell can fill in most of the details as to what happened within the agency, Petraeus himself went to Libya and spoke with Libyan officials and people involved. Excluding Petraeus would be like excluding the detective who investigated a murder at the resulting trial.
The immediate political grandstanding was partially because of his sudden withdrawal. Becuase of the election, and previous experience with this administration's shady dealings (Fast & Furious anyone?) the GOP had coinvinced themselves there was a conspiracy afoot. It is telling that the first articles to come out about the Petraeus affair weren't about Petraeus himself, but about what the "real" reason was for his "scandal."
However, despite all the drama about his testimony being withdrawn this week, Congress has suddenly remembered that they can still subpoena him, even as a civilian. It is not certain yet whether they will. Petraeus being subpoenaed will hinge on whether or not Congress is satisfied with the information Morrell can provide Congress on his own.