Did the scandal drive a craven Petraeus to tout the false White House line on Benghazi?

Many people, including some VFR readers, have suggested that the Petraeus scandal was, from the start, a complex conspiracy to bring down Petraeus. I have been utterly dismissive of that, as I always am of such theories. Are we supposed to believe that Paula Broadwell did not send intimidating e-mails to Jill Kelley, and that Jill Kelley, as the child of Lebanese immigrants, is really an Arab “plant” (people have said such things to me, and I haven’t posted them), and that the entire FBI investigation of the emails was some made-up complex script invented by the administration in order to destroy Petraus? That’s on the order of believing that Monica Lewinsky was the agent of a vast right-wing conspiracy, or that the 9/11 attack was planned by the Bush administration. There seems to be some primitive part of the human brain that specializes in coming up with such “theories” and that automatically kicks into action whenever a big scandal or some other significant event occurs.

However, Charles Krauthhammer has a more modest and more plausible theory of a connection between Petraeus-gate and Benghazi-gate. Petraeus, he says, knew by early September that the administration knew about the affair, and he wanted to keep his job and thought he could keep his job. And for that reason he echoed the false administration line on the Benghazi attack in his testimony to Congress on September 13.

Here from Newsbusters is the transcript of Krauthammer’s remarks on Fox yesterday:

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: I think the really shocking news today was that General Petraeus thought and hoped he could keep his job. He thought that it might and it would be kept secret, and that he could stay in his position. I think what that tells us is really important. It meant that he understood that the FBI obviously knew what was going on. He was hoping that those administration officials would not disclose what had happened, and therefore hoping that he would keep his job. And that meant that he understood that his job, his reputation, his legacy, his whole celebrated life was in the hands of the administration, and he expected they would protect him by keeping it quiet.

And that brings us to the ultimate issue, and that is his testimony on September 13. That’s the thing that connects the two scandals, and that’s the only thing that makes the sex scandal relevant. Otherwise it would be an exercise in sensationalism and voyeurism and nothing else. The reason it’s important is here’s a man who knows the administration holds his fate in its hands, and he gives testimony completely at variance with what the Secretary of Defense had said the day before, at variance with what he’d heard from his station chief in Tripoli, and with everything that we had heard. Was he influenced by the fact that he knew his fate was held by people within the administration at that time?…

Of course it was being held over Petraeus’s head, and the sword was lowered on Election Day. You don’t have to be a cynic to see that as the ultimate in cynicism. As long as they needed him to give the administration line to quote Bill, everybody was silent. And as soon as the election’s over, as soon as he can be dispensed with, the sword drops and he’s destroyed. I mean, can you imagine what it’s like to be on that pressure and to think it didn’t distort or at least in some way unconsciously influence his testimony? That’s hard to believe.

[end of Krauthammer transcript.]

Now this is interesting. But where does Krauthammer get the information that Petraeus knew before September 13 that the White House was aware of the affair? According to the New York Times’ detailed account of the investigation which I posted in full yesterday as well as other accounts, Petraeus was not interviewed by the FBI until late October, at which time he admitted the affair, which makes it somewhat unlikely that he knew in early September that the White House was aware of the affair or even that the White House itself in early September was aware of the affair.

- end of initial entry -

Ed H. writes:

When looking for a motive to explain an action, the most obvious ones should be discounted first before going in more exotic directions.The most obvious is usually what confirms previous patterns of behavior. I think that all the motivation David Petraeus would need to support the Benghazi cover-up was that the organization demanded it. David Petraeus is an organization man. Since age 18 he has lived, worked, and breathed inside the Army with all its demands for conformity and group effort. For many the Army is a straightjacket of petty regulations and constant supervision, but none of this chafed Petraeus. On the positive side the U.S. Army does give a sense of purpose and a sense of belonging. This might be fine in wartime and real crises, but today the U.S. Army promotes bureaucratic performance and the ability to regurgitate PC ideology. In fact you don’t rise above the rank of colonel unless you are an enthusiastic supporter of PC. It was a very small step from actively administering the U.S. Army line of lies and evasions i.e., “Diversity is wonderful, women in the military are an asset, homosexuality is a respectable choice,” to actively taking a part in the Obama administration’s lies about the similarly politically correct, feel-good fantasy known as Arab Spring.

That said, I believe that Petraeus is a decent man, if one of limited philosophical ability. The sex scandal revelations, may have come as a relief to Petraeus as it relieved him of having any further association with the Obama crowd which revealed to him depths of depravity he never experienced in the U.S. Army.

LA replies:

The U.S. military is now so corrupted by the official liberal lies concerning race, women, homosexuality, and Islam that I don’t believe any high ranking officer can be an honorable man.

Terry Morris writes:

Someone ought to check Petraeus’s back to see whether, in a drunken stupor, the whore-broad Broadwell tattood the words “Blackmail Me” on his back.

Good catch on Krauthammer’s lack of evidence to support the dates of when the affair was exposed to the White House. But I doubt that that minor inconsistency matters in any event. Petraeus must have been very paranoid about the affair and its potential to ruin him by September 13th. He had painted himself into the corner of leaving himself no other alternative (excepting the honorable one, of course) than to “just go along.” Hopefully he’s learned a valuable lesson that I’ve instilled in my children from the time they’ve been old enough to understand—that whenever you commit a wrong or an injustice, it is always best to admit your wrongdoing early, and to repent of it, regardless of the consequences. Because almost without fail, the consequences are worse, and more devastating, when you try to hide it and to lie about it.

How stupid can the guy be?

LA replies:

I don’t see how your lesson of admitting to a lie is relevant here, since there’s no question of Petreaus dishonestly denying the affair. He admitted it as soon as the FBI approached him.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 14, 2012 08:00 AM | Send

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