THE TRUTH ON PETRAEUS – AT 11:45 A.M. ET: We're still waiting for it. David Petraeus abruptly resigned as head of the CIA because of an affair. At the time, and in the months since, we have expressed mighty skepticism about that story. I mean, the man was a national hero. All he had to say was that the affair was misinterpreted, and his military reputation would have sustained him.
If every official in Washington having an affair had to resign, the city would be emptied out fairly fast. There's a larger story here. London's Daily Mail is reporting that a new book claims to have the answer. We present this with the understanding that we cannot prove the facts, but a lot of this sounds true to what we've heard privately:
David Petraeus was betrayed by his own bodyguards and vengeful high-ranking enemies in the CIA, who made sure his affair with his biographer was exposed to the public, a new book claims.
MailOnline can reveal a new angle on the story that rocked Washington last fall. It comes from two retired special operations commandos - a Navy SEAL and a Green Beret - who say they discovered a plot against the former CIA director while doing research about the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Senior CIA officers targeted Petraeus because they didn't like the way he was running the agency - focusing more on paramilitary operations than intelligence analysis. They used their political clout and their connections to force an FBI investigation of his affair with Paul Broadwell and make it public, according to 'Benghazi: The Definitive Report.'
'It was high-level career officers on the CIA who got the ball rolling on the investigation. It was basically a palace coupe to get Petraeus out of there,' Jack Murphy, one of the authors, told MailOnline.
Murphy and co-author Brandon Webb also revealed that the September 11 Benghazi terrorist attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, was retaliation by Islamist militants who had been targeted by covert U.S. military operations.
The book claims that neither Stevens nor even Petraeus knew about the raids by American special operations troops, which had 'kicked a hornet's nest' among the heavily-armed fighters after the overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
John Brennan, President Barack Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser, had been authorizing 'unilateral operations in North Africa outside of the traditional command structure,' according to the e-book. Brennan is Obama's pick to replace Petraeus as head of the CIA.
COMMENT: Well, we'll see. When the book is published this week there may or may not be a reaction from government officials. I suspect the MSM will suppress it. (The media has suppressed many books in the past, including the official North Vietnamese account of the Vietnam War, which contradicted much of the smug press "reporting" from Vietnam.)
My own sense is that there's even more to the story than a palace coup: the probability that Obama wanted Petraeus out because the general wouldn't go along with the administration party line on Benghazi. The definitive account is yet to be written.
I hope Petraeus writes a book, but I don't think he will.
February 10, 2013