Sunday, November 11, 2012

A "Former Spook" gives his analysis

Spook, who writes the In From The Cold blog asks, "So, who "got" David Petraeus? Beyond his own, deplorable conduct, there is the list of ususal suspects. We'll begin with veterans of the CIA clandestine service and paramilitary operations directorate. They are furious over Petraeus's conduct in the aftermath of the Benghazi debacle, when his statements on the attack were similar to those of administration officials, who suggested the attack on the consulate was the result of an "out-of-control" protest, sparked by outrage over an internet video that offensive to Muslims. Two CIA contractors were among the four Americans killed in the attack and other agency personnel were wounded. Yet, the administration did nothing to send assistance to the besieged consulate, other than a quick reaction force from the embassy in Tripoli."

As we've noted before, no one plays the "leak" game better than the spook community. As the White House clung to its "video" narrative, operatives involved in the Benghazi operation began passing details of that fateful night, raising new questions about what actually occurred. The leaks were aimed (in part) at the administration, but they were also directed at Petraeus and the Director of National Intelligence (James Clapper) who were viewed as not only abandoning operatives on the ground, but doing little to defend the reputation of intelligence professionals when various administration officials suggested the community "got it wrong" before Benghazi.

Then, more than six weeks after the attack, Petraeus did something a bit unusual. Realizing the White House's well-deserved reputation for throwing people under the bus, the CIA Director announced that no one at his agency had taken steps to prevent assistance from reaching our diplomats and intel operators on the ground in Benghazi. That assertion shifted the blame squarely on the administration and the Pentagon. Needless to say, Petraeus's comments didn't exactly win him any friends in the West Wing, or on the E-ring of the Pentagon. And, if he was trying to rally support in the spook world, it was probably too late for that as well.

But don't exclude the possibility of a White House "job," either. Relations between the retired General and Mr. Obama were never good; there were disagreements over U.S. policies in Afghanistan and many in the administration viewed Petraeus as "too independent" for the job. And, when the CIA Director blamed the lack of support in Benghazi on the White House, the administration had a clear reason for getting rid of General Petraeus. As President Obama reviews candidates for his second term cabinet (and other senior positions) we keep hearing the term "pliable" being tossed about. In other words, the Commander-in-Chief is looking for individuals who will take orders without question or complaint. David Petraeus clearly didn't fit that mold. So, with his affair under investigation by the FBI, it wasn't hard for Team Obama to obtain that information and use it when it became convenient.

And of course, the White House derives one more benefit from Petraeus's departure. Just hours after his resignation was announced, the Administration revealed that the former director will not testify during Congressional hearings on Benghazi next week. With a key player unavailable, it becomes that much more difficult to determine what happened when our consulate was attacked. We can only wonder if Representative Mike Rogers (chairman of the House Intelligence Committee) would pursue a Congressional subpoena to compel Petraeus to appear. But with the GOP licking its wounds after Tuesday's elections--and new demands for bi-partisanship--the White House is betting that Rogers won't press the issue. So, valuable testimony will be lost as Congress tries to get to the bottom of Benghazi.

Read much more than the tidbits I have excerpted here:

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