When CIA Director, David Petraeus resigned just a few weeks after the re-election of President Obama the country was still in the throes of confusion and anger over what had happened in Benghazi. Certain media outlets had led people to believe that Obama had abandoned two former Navy SEALs in a combat zone, callously handing them a death sentence. However, even those who were skeptical of these media reports had to admit that the timing of David Petraeus’ resignation was absolutely devastating. For all intensive purposes, it appeared that he had to resign over something to do with Benghazi.
SOFREP received word that Petraeus was going to resign a full three weeks ahead of the public announcement. What we were not expecting was the reason cited for him stepping down. Not long after Benghazi happened, Petraeus began interviewing for a job at Princeton University and was planning to quit as Director of the CIA.
The overrunning of the Consulate, and the killing of two GRS employees, would have come to him as a shock. John Brennan was running his own operations and probably briefing the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper on to the bare minimum needed to keep these secret missions legal. Likewise, a Congress member with budget oversight responsibilities was probably being read on, but the briefings kept vague to the point of uselessness. Brennan just needed a rubber stamp.
Kept in the dark to these compartmentalized JSOC operations, the Ansar Al-Sharia retaliation caught the CIA by surprise. They had no idea that Special Operations missions would be kicking the hornets nest in Libya and therefore could not prepare for the likely fallout that would result. Realizing this after the consulate attack, Petraeus knew for certain that he was a perpetual outsider in the administration. More specifically, he was furious about being left in the lurch by the Obama administration.
Like a good soldier, Petraeus was waiting until after the election season to resign but CIA officials behind the scenes apparently had other ideas. The Director had made plenty of enemies on the 7th floor of CIA headquarters in Langley by pursuing para-military operations and moving the agency even further from its roots in intelligence collection.
The reason for this is partially because there were budget incentives to pursue para-military operations as the funding was there for them but many long time CIA Officers did not appreciate the direction that Petraeus was taking their agency in. They also did not like the fact that the director was still acting like a four-star General and throwing his weight around at Langley.
One of the authors was near General Petraeus and his wife Holly at the Veteran’s Day parade in New York City in 2011, who by this time was sworn in as Director of the CIA. While Petraeus was surrounded by friends who respected him and was never in any danger, it was disconcerting how easily his own Personal Security Detachment lost track of him. For at least an hour, the General was out there flapping in the breeze without any security around him because the SUV filled with his bodyguards was stuck in traffic at the end of the parade.
What the PSD personnel may have lacked as bodyguards, they made up for by knowing the intimate details of his personal life. One of those details was Paula Broadwell.
It was well known to Petraeus’ Personal Security Detachment that he and Broadwell were having an affair. She wasn’t the first woman he had an affair with nor was he the only high ranking agency head or general engaged in extra-marital relations but when the 7th Floor of Langley wanted Petraeus out, they cashed in their chips.
The FBI had been alerted to Paula Broadwell’s shenanigans months prior and had investigated her and her relationship with the General. In fact, the FBI had been trying to shut the investigation down for months prior to Petraeus’ resignation for the simple fact that they could find no criminal wrong doing. The reality of the situation is that high ranking CIA Officers already knew about the affair by consulting with Petraeus’ PSD and then found a way to initiate an FBI investigation to create a string of evidence and an investigative trail that led to the information they already had. In other words, an official investigation that could be used to force Petraeus to resign.
The FBI was never allowed to shut down their investigation. What benefit did FBI director Robert Mueller and the Attorney General, Eric Holder get by playing along with the CIA’s palace coup is unknown at this time. It is interesting that Petraeus was already on his way out the door over Benghazi and the CIA none the less forced him out on their terms rather than on his own. It strikes one as purely vindictive, and perhaps to sabotage any future of a Presidential campaign.
Meanwhile, Paula Broadwell has hired a high powered Public Relations firm to rehabilitate her image and none of us are looking forward to her day time talk show or reality tv program that we all fear is coming.
In the wake of the Benghazi attack the political-media machine went into overdrive, each side of the political spectrum trying to paint their opposition in the worst light possible. One rumor that began circulating on the internet was that General Ham, the AFRICOM commander at the time of the 9/11/12 attack had “gone rogue.” The story went that the Obama administration did not want to send reinforcements or support the GRS element in Benghazi and had ordered General Ham to stand down air support and other assets that could have been moved into theater. General Ham was then said to have blown off these orders and was preparing to support the GRS team when he was “apprehended” and later forced into retirement.
Great story, but completely false. Sources indicate that the DOD rebuttal is actually much closer to the truth in this case. The original rumor was spread by someone making an anonymous post on an internet message board. From there, rather dubious media outlets picked up the story and ran with it, fooling many people in the process.
“The speculation that General Carter Ham is departing Africa Command due to events in Benghazi, Libya, on [Sept. 11,] 2012 is absolutely false,” Dempsey said in his statement. “General Ham’s departure is part of routine succession planning that has been ongoing since July. He continues to serve in Africom with my complete confidence,” the release reads (http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=118400)
Check your sources. Don’t be a cyber-chump.
Another cute story was that there was an AC-130 gunship circling over Benghazi the night of the attack but that the crew was denied permission to initiate airstrikes in support of the GRS element on the ground. This story is also false. There were two unarmed drones over Benghazi the night of the attack. A JSOC operator with the GRS element was able to monitor the video feed from the drones for situational awareness purposes but there was no gunship support.
AFRICOM allocated two drones and positioned them overhead but these drones were not armed with Hellfire missiles. Even if there were armed drones overhead, placing a missile strike within yards of the Annex would have been very risky.
(Featured Image Courtesy: Washington Post)
— Coming Saturday, Feb. 9 – Chapter Six: Conclusion —
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