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Did U.S. General David Petraeus grant friends access to top secret files?
December 19, 2012 5:12 PM   Subscribe

Did U.S. General David Petraeus grant friends access to top secret files?
"Petraeus was forced out of the CIA in part because his mistress read sensitive documents. Now it is alleged he granted two friends astonishing access to top secret files as he ran the Afghan surge. In a painstaking investigation, Rajiv Chandrasekaran reveals how the volunteers won big donations from defence firms – and how they pushed the army towards a far more aggressive strategy."
posted by ericb (41 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Chris Matthews | MSNBC: Gen. Petraeus neo-con connection ‘is really strange’
I’d like to know why General Petraeus was taking day-to-day advice from people on the other side of the Iraq war argument.

Fred and Kimberly Kagan are hawks. They share the ideology of those who backed the Iraq War. Why are they on the inside of an administration elected based on its opposition to the Iraq war?

I am one of those who believed from square one that the war in Iraq was an ideological war pushed from the outset by those who wanted us to overthrow the Iraq government and install ourselves in Baghdad. They got their way under a less-than-informed President, George W. Bush. Now we discover that a pair of them, the Kagans, have been right there in the room with the head of the Afghan mission, advising him every step of the way.

Why? Why did General Petraeus assume the right to allow people who represent the very opposite of President Obama’s philosophy to advise him? What agenda was his seeking here? What was he buying into? Was he buying into the hawkish agenda of those who advocated war on Iraq in the first place? If so, why was he working for President Obama who stood out there against that war?

I have to think that Petraeus either doesn’t understand politics and ideology or he shapes his ideology, or accepts the ideology of those who have stood against Obama from the beginning. This is really strange, really strange and someone in the administration better start paying attention to who is getting into the tent and who they are indeed working for.

Backing the Iraq war and the mentality behind it is no small thing.
posted by ericb at 5:15 PM on December 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Or perhaps the GOP and Dems are both funded by the same military industrial complex?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:24 PM on December 19, 2012 [22 favorites]



Why? Why did General Petraeus assume the right to allow people who represent the very opposite of President Obama’s philosophy to advise him?


WHY? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?
posted by srboisvert at 5:27 PM on December 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


There is no such thing as ideology. Fundamentally, there is only the pursuit of power, and the wielding of power.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:28 PM on December 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


He's going to jail for this, right?


Right?
posted by schmod at 5:31 PM on December 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


Why? Why did General Petraeus assume the right to allow people who represent the very opposite of President Obama’s philosophy to advise him? What agenda was his seeking here? What was he buying into? Was he buying into the hawkish agenda of those who advocated war on Iraq in the first place? If so, why was he working for President Obama who stood out there against that war?

Because Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes were going to use FOX News and the News Corporation to help General Petraeus run against Obama in 2012.

In their discussion, Ms McFarland added that Mr Ailes could resign from his role as Fox News chief to run a Petraeus 2012 presidential campaign. "Tell him if I ever ran," Mr Petraeus said, laughing, "but I won't, but if I ever ran, I'd take him up on his offer," adding: "He said he would quit Fox and bankroll it."

Challenged over whether Mr Ailes, who is paid about $20 million (£12 million) a year, would be wealthy enough to fund the campaign, Mr Petraeus said: "Maybe I'm confusing that with Rupert," adding: "Rupert's after me as well." Spokesmen for Mr Murdoch declined to comment.


It starts to fill in gaps about the real reason why Petraeus was forced to resign, at least.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:34 PM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


'This is beyond unfortunate. This is a betrayal of trust. This is someone who had apparently had access to highly classified material...'
-- General David Petraeus on Bradley Manning and Wikileaks
posted by grounded at 5:34 PM on December 19, 2012 [80 favorites]


Access to classified documents? It is only wrong when Manning and Wikileaks do it to bring attention to wrongdoing.

When the general does it to impress his girlfriend and war-craving buddies, it is all good.

Dianne Feinstein, in a position to have known about these scandals before they broke, wishes the general hadn't resigned. If all this is cool with her, who are we to complain?
posted by overthrow at 5:43 PM on December 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


He's going to jail for this, right?

Right next to Manning, I assume.
posted by DU at 5:44 PM on December 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


Dan Drenzer's reaction [reg required, but can be avoided by clicking and then dismissing Twitter reg] offers the lowest level of hyperventilating permissible under law.
posted by mojohand at 5:46 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


When the general does it to impress his girlfriend and war-craving buddies, it is all good.

I don't think you understand. These people are socialites. They pay for the booze at our junior prom reenactments.
posted by benzenedream at 5:55 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


DU: "Right next to Manning, I assume."

Yeah, they'll strip Petraeus naked, lock him in a cage for months on end, subject him to sleep deprivation and everything.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:55 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is no such thing as ideology. Fundamentally, there is only the pursuit of power, and the wielding of power.

The idea that power is wielded only by individuals and only for the benefit of individuals is itself ideological.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:57 PM on December 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


“We did have a number of occasions where we sparred with local staffs,” Fred Kagan said. He said he and his wife wanted to facilitate conversations about vital tactical issues, exposing field commanders “to different ideas and different ways of looking at the problem.”

“Some people agreed with us,” he said, “and some people didn’t.”


And from the Drezner article: Indeed, the other way to spin this is that Petraeus was wary of getting too wrapped up in the military bubble and craved outside input. Isn't that what you want as a check against organizational groupthink?

Correct.

Knee-jerk outrage about this is dumb.
posted by shivohum at 6:00 PM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought Petraeus might end up being President, too-- as a Republican, I presumed.

But what with this sex scandal and all, he'll have to be a Democrat.
posted by jamjam at 6:05 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


They were given desks in the office of the Strategic Initiatives Group, the commander’s in-house think-tank, which typically is staffed with military officers and civilian government employees. The general’s staff helped upgrade their security clearances from “Secret” to “Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information, the highest-level of US government classification.

So the Kagans had security access, but the article doesn't make clear if they had this access before Petraeus brought them onboard.

Why? Why did General Petraeus assume the right to allow people who represent the very opposite of President Obama’s philosophy to advise him?

Isn't this the same President who was lauded for having a 'team of rivals'?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:06 PM on December 19, 2012


They each had a security clearance. Get over it. At worst, the outrage should be directed at his hand-picking of people with probable (cough) conflicts of interest, but this doesn't approach the level of criminality some of you are gleefully wringing your hands over.
posted by Etrigan at 6:07 PM on December 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh, stay tuned.

All I'm sayin'
posted by Smedleyman at 6:12 PM on December 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


The article also does a terrible job of following up on headlines premise, that Petraeus was handing out gigs to personal friends.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:16 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Look, it's really simple. When your acting generals act like politicians, treat them like the worst thing the military industrial complex has to offer, not the best. Patraeus was always a deeply disturbing figure and his deification by the press and hawks was just terrifying. Thank god this has come to light.
posted by aspo at 6:18 PM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Always,always,always start with intent.

Bradley manning intended to hand over secrets to help the wiki leaks manifesto, which, I happen to agree with. I also happen to understand it will land your ass in jail for a very long time.

Patreus? This is some really deeply nuanced political shit that is kind of difficult to suss out what was intended.

Support Bradley Manning, don't pine for his treatment, he's getting exactly was what was coming to him, instead honor his sacrifice.

Patreus, OTOH, this is exactly what plausible deniability exists for...

"It's complicated"
posted by roboton666 at 6:31 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


roboton666: "Support Bradley Manning, don't pine for his treatment, he's getting exactly was what was coming to him"

With friends like you, who needs enemies?
posted by dunkadunc at 6:43 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


When your acting generals act like politicians

All generals are politicians.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:06 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


All generals are politicians.

Should have clarified a bit but I was on a mobile! And my dog ate my homework! When generals start acting like politicians towards the general civilian population, that's when you need to look out. There is a good reason to have civilian control over the military, and to have a general selling himself and his plans to the public directly is totally against that. Patraeus was obviously tasked to put the military out there in the front and use that fear of saying anything bad about the military to sell expanded conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the fact that the press and public ate it and him up is just disgusting.
posted by aspo at 7:20 PM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Funny how MoveOn was so accurate so long ago and got called out by every politician in the United States
posted by edgeways at 7:29 PM on December 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


There is a good reason to have civilian control over the military, and to have a general selling himself and his plans to the public directly is totally against that. Patraeus was obviously tasked to put the military out there in the front and use that fear of saying anything bad about the military to sell expanded conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the fact that the press and public ate it and him up is just disgusting.

Sorry, but which is it? If Petraeus was "tasked," who did it? He was directly appointed by President Obama -- a civilian -- to go to Afghanistan.
posted by Etrigan at 8:00 PM on December 19, 2012


Just because someone was tasked (in 2004... wrong president) to do something by a civilian doesn't mean that it was a good thing or something that he should have been respected for what he was doing.

He was the face of the military, representing the military, selling the war to the american people. And the countries response was the horrible rally around the troops he can do no wrong bullshit. I'm not saying it wasn't a shrewd move by the administration, but I'm saying Patraeus was first and foremost a politician tasked with selling war to the american people. And that the public rallied around an general in that role is just disgusting. Our armed forces should not be in the role of selling war to the people. That he did, and that he was treated as a hero for doing so is just disgusting.
posted by aspo at 8:16 PM on December 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


(And more)

And he reveled in it. He was obviously using his military role as a way to further his political career outside of military service. His role in selling the war was a means to an end.
posted by aspo at 8:21 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aside from your apparent... I'll say "interesting" idea that the military shouldn't be allowed to communicate with the public, I'm still mystified at why all of what you're railing about is somehow "totally against" civilian control of the military.
posted by Etrigan at 8:40 PM on December 19, 2012


I thought Petraeus might end up being President, too-- as a Republican, I presumed.

But what with this sex scandal and all, he'll have to be a Democrat.
Huh? I don't get it.

My best guess to try to make sense of this is "... because it's a heterosexual sex scandal." But I'm guessing that's not what you're going for.
posted by Flunkie at 8:44 PM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ok, last time I say anything about this because I'm obviously worked up and I don't want to turn into That Guy.

He wasn't just communicating with the public. He was selling the war to the American people and selling himself to the american people at the same time. I feel, obviously strongly, that that is the wrong role for a head of our military to do. There are fairly strict rules about a service man appearing in uniform at a political event, for instance, and those exist because there is some understanding that letting the military be a overt political tool in the civilian sphere is not the way a democracy should be run.
posted by aspo at 9:06 PM on December 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, it seems that the violence and corruption scandals, and the gay sex and prostitution scandals, all go to the Republicans. Democrats get most of the infidelity scandals.
posted by mephron at 10:57 PM on December 19, 2012


So disappointed. Dude has such an awesome name. I always imagined him commanding a Battlestar.

"Where you stationed?"
"Galactica."
"'Galactica'? What kind of fuckin' stupid name is that? Does it have giant breasts?"
"I'll have you know that Commander Adama..."
"'Adama'? A'duuuh-ma, more like it."
"Who's your commander, then?"
"Petraeus."
"...oh. Yeah, he's cool."
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:53 PM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've always imagined him as more of a Saul Tigh type of figure....
posted by schmod at 6:35 AM on December 20, 2012


I don't know, obiwanwasabi- generals with Latin-derived last names tend not to have the best of luck.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:20 AM on December 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Let me clarify, I don't agree with the treatment Manning has gotten, but I mean, if you are in the (owned by) military and you hand classified documents to wikileaks, it's kind of expected.

I think it is horrendous, but I'm not exactly surprised either.
posted by roboton666 at 2:42 PM on December 20, 2012


I thought Petraeus might end up being President, too-- as a Republican, I presumed.

But what with this sex scandal and all, he'll have to be a Democrat.


Huh? I don't get it.

My best guess to try to make sense of this is "... because it's a heterosexual sex scandal." But I'm guessing that's not what you're going for.
posted by Flunkie


No, clearly you don't get it.

Another thing you obviously don't get is how clichéd, feckless, and fundamentally dishonest 'I don't get it' is as a rhetorical trope-- though I'm willing to give you the benefit of doubting you grasp how homophobic it is to imply that only Republicans could have non-heterosexual sex scandals.

My point is that Republicans' political careers do not survive sex scandals, but those of Democrats sometimes can, as Barney Frank and Bill Clinton demonstrate in their various ways.
posted by jamjam at 3:10 PM on December 20, 2012


Clarence Thomas, Newt Gingrich, David Vitter, Jim Gibbons, Don Sherwood...
posted by edgeways at 3:32 PM on December 20, 2012


Sex scandal did end Gingrich's political career as we just saw in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination, and Thomas never had one in the first place beyond getting more than fifty votes one time in the Senate-- and he is a complete pariah.

I'm afraid you'll have to tell me who the others are.
posted by jamjam at 5:40 PM on December 20, 2012


What a fascinating story about Friedrich Paulus, Whiteskull! I never knew that.
posted by growabrain at 12:54 AM on December 23, 2012


In other leak news: Ex-Officer Is First From C.I.A. to Face Prison for a Leak
posted by homunculus at 5:17 PM on January 6, 2013


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