Moral of Petraeus' American Nights: Eliminate Every Sensitive E-Mail
(The Daily Jang, Pakistan)
"If there is
any moral to be derived from the Petraeus-Broadwell
affair, it is: woe betide those who fail to delete embarrassing or sensitive e-mails,
because they will come back to bite you where and when it hurts the most."
Jill Kelly, one of the central figures in the Petraeus Affair, is said to have exchanged thousands of e-mails - many of the suggestive - with another of America's top military commanders, General John Allen.
With the omnishambles that is the Petraeus
affair continuing to dominate the headlines, it seems that the United States is
less outraged by war than marital infidelity. Now it has overtaken the U.S.
commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, who is under investigation by the
Defense Department. There are questions about his allegedly voluminous
communications with Jill Kelly, the woman who sparked the entire affair. It was
Kelly who called in the FBI after receiving anonymous threatening e-mails that
were traced back to Paula Broadwell, which in turn
revealed that Petraeus and Broadwell
were involved in an extramarital affair. And the rest, as goes the saying, is
So far, General Allen - who has been nominated by President
Obama to become head of U.S. forces in Europe - has not been accused of having an
extra-marital relationship. But one does wonder how much time he could have
been spending on his day-job, while generating 20,000-30,000 documents,
including e-mails, between himself and Ms Kelly. And all this beginning in 2010
and ending with the current probe.
There may or may not be security implications to the Petraeus-Broadwell affair, and there is no clarity surrounding
the Allen-Kelly documents beyond a vague reference to some being "flirtatious."
General Allen is said to enjoy the continued support of President Obama but his
appointment as commander in Europe has been put on ice pending the outcome of
The reason this all matters is that it is preventing the
Obama Administration from dealing with the hiatus between winning the election and
Obama's second swearing in next year. Obama was quite literally blindsided by
the allegations about both men, despite the fact that the investigation into Petraeus goes back many months.
It appears that no one had thought to tell the president
that the CIA director, one of his most trusted members of the Obama team, had violated
military law by having an adulterous affair. Who knew what and when - and who
they did or didn't tell - will be the subject of conjecture far into the future.
But in the here and now, the "scandals" are complicating Obama's cabinet
This has particular relevance for us, as Hillary Clinton is
to be replaced as secretary of state. John Kerry was earlier touted as her
successor, but he may now get the defense secretary post and Susan Rice, the U.S.
ambassador to the United Nations, seems likely to fill the post at the State Department.
If there is any moral to be derived from this, it is: woe
betide those who fail to delete embarrassing or sensitive e-mails, because they
will come back to bite you where and when it hurts the most.