A common theme emerging from the sex scandal involving CIA Director David Petraeus is that relationships matter when you’re talking about someone with a top secret security clearance. The alleged extra-marital affair Petraeus was engaged in may not have been illegal but, as we’re learning, it quite possibly posed a problem for national security because it had the potential of compromising his loyalty.
Via the Wall Street Journal:
The computer-security investigation—which raised questions about a potential compromise to national security—points to one reason Mr. Petraeus and the White House decided he couldn’t remain in the senior intelligence position. An extramarital affair has significant implications for an official in a highly sensitive post, because it can open an official to blackmail. Security officials are sensitive to misuse of personal email accounts—not only official accounts—because there have been multiple instances of foreign hackers targeting personal emails.
This is an important point to underscore because it illustrates perfectly that while someone with a security clearance may not be guilty of a crime, the influence of others may preclude said person from being qualified to have that clearance.
Ronald Kessler is reporting that the FBI had been investigating the affair and had been doing so for months but that agents were prevented from doing anything until after the election.
FBI agents investigating CIA Director David Petraeus’s affair were shocked when told by bureau officials that despite the national security implications, no action would be taken on their findings until after the presidential election: Only then would President Obama ask for Petraeus’ resignation.
The White House claims President Obama and his national security advisors were first informed of the Petraeus’ affair on Thursday, two days after the election.
But the official timeline strains credulity. Senior FBI officials suppressed disclosure of the highly sensitive case, apparently to avoid embarrassment to Obama during his re-election campaign.
Aaron Klein has uncovered a video of Petraeus’ mistress – Paula Broadwell – on October 26th of this year, speaking at a University of Denver Symposium in which she may have divulged something that is not publicly known:
“Now I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had actually had taken a couple of Libya militia members prisoner. And they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. So that’s still being vetted.”
If that information is sensitive (cannot be confirmed at this point), perhaps it would not have been revealed had the FBI been allowed to act sooner.
Kessler also reported on the distinction between the Petraeus affair not being illegal but potentially making him compromised:
Since this was not a criminal matter, Mueller may have justified his decision by saying it is up to the government agency who employs the individual or the White House to take action. But the decision to delay action on the Petraeus case — when the fact that he had placed himself in a compromising position was known by the FBI for months — clearly created a security risk.
Security risks caused by associations, relationships and conflicts of interest…
**UPDATE** Why that Paula Broadwell video may not be what it appears to be.