The soap opera continues. The FBI investigation into an alleged affair between General David Petraeus and biographer Paula Broadwell, which also implicated General John Allen and a Tampa-based fundraiser named Jill Kelley, has become very public knowledge. Petraeus resigned on Friday, hoping to get in front of the scandal before it thrust him any further into the spotlight.
But Congress had other ideas. Republican members of Congress angered at not being read into the investigation by the FBI will still call Petraeus to testify at upcoming hearings on the recent American embassy attack in Benghazi, Libya. They want specifics from the now-retired general about how the CIA failed to prevent a September terrorist attack on the embassy that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stephens.
The Obama administration – including United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice – originally said the attack grew out of protests against an American-made anti-Muslim film. But the administration later said the attack was a planned and coordinated assault perpetrated by terrorists. President Obama reportedly plans to nominate Rice as Secretary of State, taking the place of outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but some Republicans staunchly oppose the move.
Although Petraeus will testify before Congress, the hearings will likely be closed and it may be a long time before the public knows the full truth about what happened in Benghazi.
Tim Weiner has covered the CIA for The New York Times and is the author of, "Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA."
"Petraeus has generally been depicted as some sort of combination of Dwight Eisenhower, Napoleon, and a Greek god," Weiner says. "Nobody can live up to that reputation, and of course he's now destroyed it by his having an adulterous affair."
"This is a disgrace…both for the General, and for the FBI," Weiner says. "What the hell is an FBI agent doing leaking defamatory material from a failed investigation, on his own, to a member of Congress? That's not how we run things in this country."
Weiner attributes this incident to bad blood between the CIA and FBI, which he also blames in part for September 11th. "It would be a real tragedy if this really serious misconduct by the FBI agent in this case restarted that war between the FBI and the CIA, because this will be a more dangerous world if that happens."
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