Pieces of the Petraeus Puzzle That Don’t Fit

From what we know now, the C.I.A. director’s resignation does not compute.

Four decades of brilliant service to the nation end abruptly in a late Friday news dump over a consensual affair with a woman who neither worked for Gen. David Petraeus nor posed any apparent national security threat.

Why? In a letter, he writes, “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.”

The woman is Paula Broadwell, author of a “hagiographic” book about him, “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.” What remains unclear is why and how what he calls “extremely bad judgment” led to career self-immolation by one of America’s most admired men.

C.I.A. sensitivity or no, if the possibility of pillow talk were grounds for official removal, Washington would look like it had been hit by a neutron bomb.

Sen.Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, calls Petraeus’ resignation “tragic for this human being and for the country…People are going to say he’s a scapegoat for Benghazi and that’s absolutely false,” referring to the attack at the U.S. mission in Libya that killed four Americans. “I know what the personal story is. It is not a cover up.”

Even so, absent any further details, speculation will be rampant. Meanwhile, the slavering should be tempered by recalling the 2007 assessment of Petraeus by Thomas Ricks of the Washington Post, author of “Fiasco,” a scathing critique of the war…

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Author: ROBERT STEIN

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