That Stratfor analysts report a “turf war” between the CIA and JSOC also foreshadows what many see as the biggest fallout from installing a military general as head of what had been regarded as a civilian agency — the further militarization of the CIA’s mission. The fact that the general had a mistress in tow (or—if one assumes that the woman mentioned in Stratfor’s intelligence about that dinner in Yemen wasn’t Paula Broadwell—a series of mistresses) can only add to the disquiet.
It may be that Petraeus shared foreign policy secrets with Broadwell, possibly granting her unauthorized access to classified information. A speech Broadwell gave at the University of Denver near or within the time frame of the FBI investigation of her suggests she may have had inside information about the controversial response to the attacks on the US consulate and the CIA annex in Benghazi.
It is unfortunate how little interest the media has shown in Broadwell’s work as a military intelligence officer. She directed the Counterterrorism Studies Center at Tufts, which stresses advance planning and soft power over military efforts: “We’re playing chess, they’re playing poker.” Clearly, she was not just an eager young scribe falling in love with a brave commander.
Ostensibly, Petraeus was toppled for his involvement in a secret extramarital affair— which became public knowledge with the revelation of Broadwell’s reportedly threatening behavior toward socialite Jill Kelley, whom Broadwell allegedly perceived as a romantic rival.
By agreeing to Broadwell’s original request that he admit her into his life as his biographer, the ambitious general may have unwittingly allowed himself to be set up. If he did invite her along to private dinners where confidential international strategy was discussed, she presumably was quite glad to go, and may even have suggested it. Their affair thus became a sub rosa time-bomb, the fuse of which was in her control.
General David Petraeus’s headlong fall from grace cannot be dismissed as the denouement of yet another peccadillo in an unforgiving moral climate. The plot is thicker than that—perhaps as thick as the often-unnamed heart of the story: oil.