The illustrious career of one of the most widely respected military leaders in modern U.S. history came crashing down over the weekend as David Petraeus abruptly offered his resignation as CIA chief, citing “poor judgment” in engaging in an extramarital affair.
The 60-year-old former army commander had been the trusty ground man for two presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, owing to his military reputation for strategy, to lead the 2007 “surge” in Iraq and 2010 operations in Afghanistan. In 2011 President Obama tapped him to take the helm of the Central Intelligence Agency, where he became known for his hard-line discipline and refusal to accept substandard work.
David Petraeus (AP-Yonhap News)
Seemingly at the peak of Petraeus’ non-military career, investigators confronted him about a possible security risk regarding his affair with biographer Paula Broadwell, who authored “All In: The Education of David Petraeus” and spent countless hours with the four-star general in Iraq.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation had been looking into whether Broadwell had access to Petraeus’ Gmail account. Critics highlight the irony that one of the strictest intelligence leaders in recent history had apparently thrown his own rulebook out the window by allowing Broadwell such access to his life.
Both sides of the aisle in Washington made no hesitation in expressing regret over his resignation and applauding the achievements of his 38-year career in public service.
Arizona Senator John McCain, a senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Petraeus would “stand in the ranks of America’s greatest military heroes” while President Obama of the Democratic Party praised the ex-commander’s “intellectual rigor, dedication and patriotism.”
But some eyebrows have been raised by the timing of Petraeus’ Friday resignation, which came just three days after President Obama’s re-election win and the week before he was scheduled to testify in front of House and Senate Intelligence committees about his foreknowledge of and response to the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The attack left four Americans dead, including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and some CIA personnel. CIA acting director Michael Morell will answer questions in his place.
By Elaine Ramirez (email@example.com