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Top Story — Stupid at DEFCON 1: Petraeus Scandal Set Off by Rep. Eric Cantor

Later, the agent became convinced – incorrectly, the official said – that the case had stalled. Because of his “worldview,” as the official put it, he suspected a politically motivated cover-up to protect President Obama. The agent alerted Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, who called the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, on Oct. 31 to tell him of the agent’s concerns. – Motives Questioned in F.B.I. Inquiry of Petraeus E-Mails

AS THINGS STAND right now, it’s officially impossible to take the Petraeus – Broadwell – CIA – FBI – Eric Cantor heavy breathing over an alleged cyber threat seriously anymore.

We are not in national security territory. As for cyber crime, we’re not even in the Anthony Weiner realm, with the FBI agent first contacted by the woman who received “harassing” emails from Paula Broadwell, Jill Kelley, going rogue over ideology, now barred from the case, after he “allegedly sent shirtless photos of himself to a woman involved in the case prior to the investigation.”

But can we get one thing straight. A DCIA that gets caught philandering through emails really shouldn’t be running America’s premier spy organization. Is this really hard to grasp? The basic rule of email going back to the ’90s is that you don’t put anything in an email you wouldn’t want read on O’Reilly.

Somebody tell the people at “Morning Joe” and “Fox and Friends,” because the infotainment yammerers have gone completely off the tracks over this one.

The idiot brigade on Fox News channel has also declared David Petraeus won’t testify, compounding their 2012 election stupidity with the outlandish assumption, which was rolled out by Gretchen Carlson and others, that he can’t be called to testify about Benghazi if he’s a civilian. If the Fox talking heads pull one more gargantuan whopper out of their posterior they’re going to need corrective surgery.

Not only can David Petraeus testify, but he most surely will. As Andrea Mitchell has reported, after breaking the story, Petraeus already debriefed the station chief in Libya, though there’s some serious confusion about an alleged report that the CIA is reportedly now denying exists.

During a conversation with Bill O’Reilly on Monday, Ralph Peters started ranting about the White House lying about the whole imbroglio, of course because of some fantasy Benghazi cover up. Though truth be told, Peters seemed more bummed that Petraeus won’t get to run for president now.

The parade of FNC numbskulls haven’t gotten up to speed that Rep. Eric Cantor knew some of the dirty details in October and in fact helped the whole thing spiral, because of his Fox News channel mentality.

From the Washington Post:

“I was contacted by an F.B.I. employee concerned that sensitive, classified information may have been compromised and made certain Director Mueller was aware of these serious allegations and the potential risk to our national security,” Cantor said in a statement.

Cantor contacted FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III on Oct. 31, and a week later Clapper told Petraeus he needed to resign.

“I don’t know if it would have taken this course without Cantor,” a person close to the inquiry said.

Sen. Diane Feinstein and Rep. Mike Rogers, both of whom have leading oversight jobs of the agencies, were not amused they were out of the loop.

Our government at work, folks, though it’s more like egos on parade.

But as high school frightening as Paul Broadwell is, can anyone think of a more frivolously silly woman than Jill Kelley, the woman who received the jealous incoming email missives from Broadwell and went berserk?

From the Daily Beast:

At most the messages were harassing. The cyber squad had to consult the statute books in its effort to determine whether there was adequate legal cause to open a case.

“It was a close call,” the source says.

What tipped it may have been Kelley’s friendship with the agent. The squad opened a case, though with no expectation it would turn into anything significant.

Like, oh, my, god!

Jill Kelley gets icky emails that weren’t threatening or anything significant, but just made her feel harassed. So, of course the creepy FBI guy who sent her shirtless pictures would be glad to help, especially since that Obama guy is lying about Benghazi in the first place, and Lord knows, David Petraeus won’t do anything.

The FBI agents in the cyber squad who literally made a federal case out of a one-sided cat-fight must be infants, because what’s now being reported is unimpressive in the extreme.

The director of the Central Intelligence Agency cannot be caught philandering with a woman who has less discretion than a 22 year-old intern. Sloppy impulse control and a midlife obsession he can’t control is one thing, but when you’re caught involved with a woman with the emotional maturity of a high school cheerleader you have no business being in charge of the top U.S. spy agency, particularly when you don’t know better than to use email to conduct your flirting.

If Petraeus started the affair with Broadwell while he was still in the military, the Military Code of Conduct has a completely different standard, which is severe, than the CIA, which demands full disclosure on all sides, leading to a lot of humiliating conversations.

There are a lot of swirling factoids amid the salacious details of human beings proving yet again they’re idiots and don’t take their own responsibilities seriously, not to mention allow their ideology to color every little issue of their lives, but at the bottom of this titillating story are a bunch of adults displaying the discipline of kids during puberty.

Hey, but as soap operas go, I’m glued to it.

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33 Responses to Top Story — Stupid at DEFCON 1: Petraeus Scandal Set Off by Rep. Eric Cantor

  1. The Rose November 13, 2012 at 4:46 am #

    Great post Taylor! It was amazing to watch Scarborough this morning. He hasn’t learned a thing. I can’t bring myself to watch Fox–I am elderly and the heart can’t take it. This is serious stuff in that Obama has to replace all of these people, but if he’s smart he will have an opportunity to clean house. I trust Hillary, Panetta, and some of the players inside the White House, but these generals are something else. I wonder if Colin Powell can assist.

    • Taylor Marsh November 13, 2012 at 9:23 am #

      John Heilemann actually said Cantor had acted responsibly!

      Access is all, baby.

  2. secularhumanizinevoluter November 13, 2012 at 5:41 am #

    Isn’t it just precious the way repugnantklan/teabaggers can’t wait to blow national security and break the law to try to advance their own psychotic world view?
    Tell me again WHY the CIA scum bucket who “leaked” information about an on going investigation with national security implications is still on the job instead of disappeared like Bradly Manning awaiting a couple of years of freedom tickles before their show trial?

    • Taylor Marsh November 13, 2012 at 9:24 am #

      Ah, yes, Bradley Manning. A disappeared in the Obama era.

      • secularhumanizinevoluter November 13, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

        Correction….it was an FBI scumbucket…my apologies to the CIA.

  3. TPAZ November 13, 2012 at 6:55 am #

    Dear Santa;

    All I want for Christmas this year is the Petraeus Affair to be made into a two-part episode of The Newsroom next season. I can’t wait for Will, Mac, and the gang to take on Washington DC.

    Signed,

    Johnny

    • Taylor Marsh November 13, 2012 at 9:21 am #

      Dear Santa,

      A friend of mine named Johnny has asked for something so simple this Christmas that would make so many happy, too.

      Please contact HBO, because it’s good for them, too! It’s perfect for “The Newsroom.”

      I’ll be very good next year!

      Love,

      Sally

  4. Jane Austen November 13, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    “Hey, but as soap operas go, I’m glued to it.”

    Taylor – you can’t make this stuff up which is why I probably stopped watching soap operas some time ago. There was just too much going on in real life.

    Love the analysis. You’ve been doing some super writing and I’ve been glued to TM for some months even though I haven’t been commenting as often as I did during the 2008 primary/general election.

    • Taylor Marsh November 13, 2012 at 9:22 am #

      So appreciate it, ja.

  5. jinbaltimore November 13, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    Finally! Six years later we know…Gossip Girl = Eric Cantor!

    • Taylor Marsh November 13, 2012 at 9:24 am #

      heheheheh…

    • Cujo359 November 13, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

      At the risk of sounding hip, LOL.

  6. DaGoat November 13, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    How do you think Cantor should have handled this? Contacting the FBI director seems reasonable, after all he was in charge of the agent that reported the suspicions to Cantor. It seems like Mueller and Clapper pushed things along more than Cantor.

  7. mjsmith November 13, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    Wake Up America: Issa Dumps Docs, Endangers U.S. Allies in Libya, as CIA Confirms Rice
    By Taylor Marsh on October 20, 2012

    “… In other news on Benghazi, David Ignatius writes about the scapegoating U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, which CIA “talking points” revealing exactly what Rice offered on the Sunday shows.

    ““Talking points” prepared by the CIA on Sept. 15, the same day that Rice taped three television appearances, support her description of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate as a reaction to Arab anger about an anti-Muslim video prepared in the United States. According to the CIA account, “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.”

    The CIA document went on: “This assessment may change as additional information is collected and analyzed and as currently available information continues to be evaluated.” This may sound like self-protective boilerplate, but it reflects the analysts’ genuine problem interpreting fragments of intercepted conversation, video surveillance and source reports.”

    • secularhumanizinevoluter November 13, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

      ? I need ma smellin salts…. a sane recitation of facts?!!!!!

  8. mjsmith November 13, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    I think all of the Bill Clinton defenders are FINALLY learning that it is not OK to have an affair while on the job serving the People. People are finally learning that it is not OK to LIE about having an affair while on the job either, especially under Oath.

    • Taylor Marsh November 13, 2012 at 10:06 am #

      What a laughable statement.

      Men lie about sex with someone not their wives? SHOCKING. Get a grip.

      That would also have robbed us of a lot of presidents, including FDR, JFK and that’s just in the modern era.

      It’s not illegal to have consensual sex, though it is profoundly stupid. On that, William Jefferson Clinton was guilty, but the American people did not care.

      The only reason Petraeus got caught is that he was not only stupid to risk his position BUT HE DID IT THROUGH EMAILS, TOO. For the head of the CIA that’s professional malpractice.

      • mjsmith November 13, 2012 at 11:05 am #

        When you look at all of the lies and deception involved in addition to the harm and damage it brings. It is wrong. I do not think JFK or FDR has anything to do with the “modern era” .

        Having an affair is reckless behaviour and is not in the President’s or CIA Director’s job description. I think both of these people presented themselves as honest respectable men.

        I am happy that women more and more are standing up for themselves and letting people know that having an affair and cheating on them is WRONG and NOT acceptable behaviour.

        It is not a criminal act, it is still wrong wrong worng.

        JFK, Bill Clinton, and FDR had affairs, it was still wrong.

        Women today, more andmore, are independant and not a slave to their husbands. A man would cheat andthe lady would turn a blind eye out of economic dependancy.

        I am sure you know all too well that if Hilary Rodahm Clinton was getting oral sex in the White HOuse from an intern, she would be considered a very bad person.

        People have sex outside of their marraige. My question to them is “why did you get married in the first place?”

        • jinbaltimore November 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

          “People have sex outside of their marraige. My question to them is “’why did you get married in the first place?’”

          I guess I missed the part where people have to embrace YOUR definition of marriage.

          Fidelity in a marriage and a woman’s independence level do not have the correlation you imply.

          Also, I don’t remember the job descriptions for either Prez or CIA Director specifically addressing marital fidelity, but would have to see said job descriptions to make certain, I guess.

          Finally, lies are wrong, but IMO justifiable when faced with the greater wrong of probes into the sexual activities of consenting adults.

        • secularhumanizinevoluter November 13, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

          Well my word….I actually agree with your last sentence…the rest is pretty much drivel, but that last sentence/question is spot on.

  9. mjsmith November 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    There is no justification for lying under oath. There is no justification for the lies at all. If you can’t be honest about what you are doing, you should not be doing it.

    When Bill CLinton wrote his bio all people wanted to know is what page is the Lewinskistory and what does it say.

    When Hilary wrote her bio, all people wanted to know is what page is the Lewinski story and what does it say.

    I am sure when/if Chelsea writes her bio all people will want to know is…

    • jinbaltimore November 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

      all people wanted to know?!?!?!?

      You have evidence to back up that outlandish claim?

      America is doomed to mediocre politicians as long as it holds onto its puritanical streak.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter November 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

      So nice to know you now think Bush Crime Syndicate should be held accountable for lying us into a war of aggression.

  10. autumnal November 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    “I’m shocked, shocked to find that sex is going on in here”!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Gf8NK1WAOc

    The Perfumo affair was like 50 years ago, can we move on now? Surreal.

  11. autumnal November 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    What is shocking is that any one of these clowns is in a position of authority and responsibility over the rest of us. Talk about a Confederacy of Dunces argh

  12. Cujo359 November 13, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    “particularly when you don’t know better than to use email to conduct your flirting.”

    The only thing that is amazing to me is that this went on as long as it did without it becoming known to the general public. The government monitors e-mails for any sort of inappropriate use of resources, and every government employee or contractor knows it within months of being hired.

  13. spincitysd November 13, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    http://usmilitary.about.com/od/punitivearticles/a/mcm133.htm

    http://usmilitary.about.com/od/punitivearticles/a/134.htm

    If the affair does come under the UCMJ then the above articles ( and perhaps more) would be in play. Hard to say, four star generals usually just get quietly canned when they do something this stupid. Maybe a little tête-à-tête with head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for a little NJP? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-judicial_punishment. I can not see this rising to a Court Martial. I think the Military will do everything in its power to dodge this bullet. The military does not want this hot potato dropping in its lap. Adultery makes them queasy. Adultery by a Four Star makes them break out in hives.

    • spincitysd November 13, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

      Too many links, help me out of moderation Ms. Marsh.

  14. TPAZ November 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    John Edwards 2016. Why not?

  15. jinbaltimore November 13, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    Robert Wright on the actual scandal that this faux one hides:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/11/the-real-david-petraeus-scandal/265127/

    • Cujo359 November 13, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

      That scandal is rather neatly summarized in this paragraph, I think:

      start quote:

      That Post piece reported that the chief of the CIA’s (burgeoning) Counterterrorism Center had told a colleague, “We are killing these sons of bitches faster than they can grow them now.” This kind of claim seems to neglect the possibility that the drone strikes, especially given their intermittent killing of innocents, could in the long run generate so much hatred of America that they increase the rate at which terrorists are created. Coming from the guy who heads the part of the CIA that operates the drones, this simplistic language is not reassuring. If an opaque drone program means trusting people like this to do the smart thing, the case for transparency is strong.

      end quote

      Seems to me like the lunatics are running the asylum these days, as they were during the worst excesses of the Cold War. What’s worse, this time most progressives don’t seem to give a damn about this. We’re “fighting terrorism”, after all…

      Ironic that we seem to have had more courage when we were facing true annihilation, rather than something that’s more like a public safety or law enforcement concern.

      • jinbaltimore November 13, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

        I have a friend who posted on his blog, in support of the drones, “well, if it will stop another 9/11…” so oblivious as to how drone warfare is fueling the fire for so many more 9/11′s.

        How is becoming a more hated nation supposed to keep us safe again?

        • Cujo359 November 13, 2012 at 8:07 pm #

          When I discuss these things with people, I can’t get past the idea that what they’re really telling me is that it’s better to kill random strangers who, for all we know, have nothing to do with anything that endangers us, than to face some small added danger in our lives. That’s what they’re saying, though, and I find it really hard to have a respectful conversation with such a point of view.

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