Coffee House

David Petraeus quits as CIA director over affair

10 November 2012

Few people have been more important in America’s recent wars than David Petraeus. Petraeus led the surge of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and redefined the US approach to counter-insurgency warfare. He was the most influential military figure of the post-war era and successful enough for some of those close to Obama to hold deep concerns about the prospect of Petraeus running against Obama.

14 months ago, he was put in charge of the CIA by President Obama. There he expanded Predator strikes to Yemen and pushed for a larger drone fleet. But yesterday, Petraeus resigned over an extra-marital affair with his biographer. It is a sad end to a remarkable career.

Petraeus’s abrupt departure throws a spanner in the works of Obama’s attempt to put together a national security team for his second term. But it also means that the full story about the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi will take longer to come out. Petraeus was meant to testify to Congress on the matter next week. But he now will not.

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Show comments
  • eeore

    Benghazi is the least of the questions he has to answer. But I guess it makes a nice headline and plays into the narrative of politics.

  • anyfool

    The only reason Petraeus is deemed a good general is because he added hundreds of thousands of US troops into Iraq and Afghanistan in so called surges to counteract a few thousand terrorists, he could have done it with no extra troops if the Rules of Engagement were not so politically correct.
    They were written by a bunch of assholes who have watched too many Westerns in which the hero always pulls his gun last, these tossers do not realise it does not matter how you are killed you are still dead, they then pretend to be more civilised to each other at the cost of thousands of allies lives, it must feel so good to be righteous at others expense.

  • Jupiter

    Did Barry know about this before the election?

  • Jupiter

    The NY Post’s headline about this story today is

    ‘CLOAK AND SHAG HER’;jsessionid=DB1142C375B86B5419FD271ADF7E2135

  • Stewart

    You are right to say the truth about the Bengazi debacle will take longer to out but it is worth noting Petraeus could still be called to testify though he is no longer director. If Petraeus was somehow leveraged into resigning after the Presidential election but before the congressional hearings, that in itself will be worthy of some investigation.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    He was the most influential military figure of the post-war era…”



    It’s amazing how you Speccie teenagers prattle about such things, without a care of history or historical precedence. It seems it’s just sort of today’s reality television program, dancing/singing with the stars, with appropriate light commentary from the poorly educated yobs at the bench.

    “…most influential military figure of the post-war era…”

    You kids really do need to tighten it up a bit.

  • Kevin

    To this story must surely be added the near simultaneous imprisonment of the man whose video was wrongly blamed for having incited the terrorist attack.

    This comment from Investors’ Businness Daily:
    “If the Obama administration had heeded warnings from Ambassador Chris Stevens that, after two previous incidents, the consulate in Benghazi was surrounded by terrorist training camps and couldn’t withstand an organized attack, Mark Basseley Youssef might still be a free man today.”

  • M. Wenzl

    At least they actually resign in the US. Our own coalition politicians hang on by their fingernails.. and once gone, claw their way back in anyway.

  • Vulture

    I cannot beieve that on the day the BBC is falling apart over its failed attempt to deflect attention from its own paedophiles in the Savile scandal by smearing a Tory peer, Coffee House’s leading political correspondent is opining on a minor sex scandal across the pond! Wake up and get a grip, for God’s sake if you want to be taken remotely seriously.

    • Swiss Bob

      I’m afraid I’ve stopped taking this rag seriously, it gets more like the Guardian every day.

      • Wilma

        You think the UK Spectator is off ,you should read the Australian section. Bring back Boris.

  • Kevin

    Obama accepted his resignation. Did he try to dissuade him at all?

    Did he argue, for example, that if similar circumstances did not stop Bill Clinton from acting as Commander-in-Chief why should they stop Petraeus?

    • Colonel Mustard

      Of course not. Clinton and Petraeus are from opposite ends of the left’s prejudice spectrum. Wrongdoing only matters if you are on the right, q.v. McShane, Watson, McBride, et al.

  • Baron

    His affair has FA to do with his resignation, the hint what has hides in the two last sentences of Fraser’s.

    • Redneck


      You know full well that the President was wholly unaware of events in Benghazi: for you to imply that he’d have been apprised of an ongoing, sustained & organised attack on Americans in a hostile land is hogwash!

    • Daniel Maris

      I agree Baron. In fact I can’t comprehend how anyone would be naive enough to think otherwise. I presume the facts will reveal Petraeus was fully aware of the Sharia threat in Libya but – as a politician as well as a military strategist – chose to play it down in line with the overall quietist policy of the West in this regard.

      This is a tricky affair from a number of angles, not least the USA will have to fess up to operating a fully fledged autonomous CIA station in Libya interfering in the affairs of that country, just as the Sharia gang always claim they do.

  • Malfleur

    Wow, the New Spectator almost got around to writing about the Benghazi scandal…! Don’t step out of line, guys!

    • HooksLaw

      The fact that you think there is some political aspect to this shows how blinkered and dim you are.
      I disliked the concocted smears the Democrats invented over Bush and I am not about to leap on the same bandwagon over Obama. Operational cock-ups on the other side of the world are not the fault of politicians.

      • eeore

        Who said it had anything to do with politicians?

    • Redneck


      Don’t be naughty.

      • Malfleur

        It’s a failing, I know.

    • Malfleur

      As Charles Krauthammer suggests on Breitbart, now that the Benghazi scandal has a sex angle perhaps the mainstream media, which sort of includes the New Spectator, will give it the attention it deserves…

  • anyfool

    Petraeus did not resign because of the affair, it did not help but the main reason appears to be that the FBI was the agency holding the info on him and even Obama could not restrain the rival agency from doing its best to stick one on the CIA.
    He resigned because he got caught, forget the declarations about hurting his wife if he had any cares in that direction he would not have embarked on an illicit affair in the first place.

  • Swiss Bob

    Christ almighty, sacked for an affair?

    If this sort of standard was applied to our own security services given recent stories there’d be no one left, which might not be a bad thing given most of them work for foreign powers.

    • HooksLaw

      If that sort of standards were applied to previous presidents there would have been no Kennedy or Clinton.

      • Swiss Bob

        Which would have been no bad thing.

    • Redneck

      Swiss Bob

      Apologies but your assessment fails on one fundamental: his mistake was to have an affair with a woman.

  • TomTom

    Paula Broadwell looks pretty hot but it is strange how the US Defence Budget gets used. She goes to West Point and ends up with a string of degrees and quasi-academic jobs rather than being a fighting-soldier. It is remarkable just how extensive the US Defence Budget reaches – ie 234 golf courses…….and is a form of Welfarism with captive voters on pork barrel projects In fact Defence is twice the Welfare Budget and people like Paula Broadwell get to spend their entire lives on University degrees – latest being King’s College, London – and clearly she thinks a biography of Petraeus by his mistress is a best-selling proposition……..Just read paid reviews then customer reviews….which are scornful…..just how can she have any credibility ?

    • HooksLaw

      The US defence budget it horribly bloated. Tell us news.

      Broadwell graduated from West Point in 1995 and got her other degrees starting in 2006. She did serve in the US army as required by graduating from West Point and is a major in the Reserve.
      Maybe there is some question of unauthorised access to information by Broadwell, but there seem to be no charges against Petraeus.

      • Daniel Maris

        The US would get a lot more bangs for its bucks if it pursued full scale robotisation of its armed forces, which I think is now possible. An attack force of drones, drone carriers, land robots, all with mini spy surveillance would be unstoppable in conventional war.

        However, one has also to understand the social role the US armed forces now play, they are about the one real path out of poverty for many impoverished Americans from difficult family backgrounds.

  • Heartless etc.,

    Ah – human frailty and its effect on Major policy. How sad they become so entwined as to disrupt normal function. And as to the “War!” – a contrived affair, – though thought by many well-meaning people to be necessary – well, while two idiots can start it, it takes a genius to redefine the priorities and strategy of withdrawal. And then to turn the focus and attend to the REAL priority.

    We are all the poorer and more insecure for his departure. May he soon return – when the sanctimonious bleeding heart bleating dies away, naturally.

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