Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Broadwell and Benghazi

Read it all at the link, from James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal.

And from the editors, "The Petraeus Probe":
Senate Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein said Sunday she intends to investigate who knew what and when about l'affaire David Petraeus, and rightly so. The facts that are dribbling out suggest that all sorts of people knew about the CIA director's personal predicament—except the President for whom he worked.

If the leaks are correct, the FBI was investigating Mr. Petraeus for months. The unidentified sources claim that the bureau stumbled across the affair when his paramour, Paula Broadwell, sent a threatening email to another woman. The G-men then pursued the matter out of concern for a national security breach, which they say they never found.

Let's hope so, although it's hardly reassuring that the CIA chief was communicating with Ms. Broadwell via a Gmail account. Our operating assumption is that every Gmail account can be ransacked by hackers from China and elsewhere, no matter Google's GOOG +0.43% best efforts at security. For America's chief spook to leave himself vulnerable in this way is an astonishing lack of judgment for such a disciplined and experienced man.

It's also passing strange, not to say politically convenient, that these sources say the FBI alerted the White House for the first time at 5 p.m. on Election Day. The leakers say the bureau told Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who then advised Mr. Petraeus he would have to resign.

But why wait weeks to tell the White House if a CIA chief is compromised in a way that might force his resignation? A report of this kind had to have gone up the chain of command to FBI Director Robert Mueller, and probably to Attorney General Eric Holder. Did they not tell anybody at the White House, not even the general counsel? This is odd, if not a dereliction, and the information chain needs to be understood.

All the more so because House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has confirmed a news report that he was told by a whistleblower in late October about the Petraeus affair, and he then had his staff alert the office of FBI Director Mueller. Mr. Cantor deserves credit for showing discretion and good judgment in the middle of an election campaign.

But the same credit should not go to Administration officials if they kept this problem bottled up until President Obama was safely re-elected. No one wants to see Mr. Petraeus or his family further humiliated, but there are security implications that need to be explained.
Still more, "FBI Agent in Petraeus Case Under Scrutiny."