One day, Jill Kelley started getting threatening emails from an anonymous person. She reported those emails to an FBI friend of hers. The FBI not only determined who was sending the emails, they went and found all the emails that person sent. It was at that point that they discovered the affair between the sender, Paula Broadwell, and former CIA head, David Petreaus. Why didn’t the FBI just determine who sent the emails and tell her to quit? We’ve got lots of people with bitter breakups that only get a lousy restraining order. Why did this investigation have to go beyond that?
It’s because it was yet another opportunity for the FBI to flex its muscles, that’s why. The FBI took down Richard Nixon when the #2 at that organization got passed over to lead the FBI when Hoover died. We like to think Woodward and Bernstein did all the investigating of Watergate, but they were acting on information supplied to them by a bitter FBI executive that wanted revenge. Now we’re seeing an FBI investigation go too far into personal lives to dismantle the power of the man at the head of the CIA.
The FBI didn’t have to go that far. Once they determined who was sending the emails, they had all they needed for a criminal case. Motive? Rivalry, plain and simple. Broadwell’s not even being charged, even though it’s an open and shut case. She sent threatening emails, and that’s against the law.
Petreaus didn’t have to go out in shame, either. The president could have been informed of the situation and then quietly asked for Petreaus’ resignation. Petreaus could cite either family or health concerns like every other executive surrounded by scandal, and that would have been that. There would have been whispers of infidelity here and there, but the stock story would be the aforementioned, lame, tired yarn about family or health concerns. Instead, the whole thing is public and Petreaus is taking all kinds of flak over it.
How did the affair come to light? Eric Cantor found out about it and raised a stink back in October. How did he find out? An FBI agent informed him and – oh, wait, we’ve heard this story before…
Once again in America, our secret police have demonstrated their ability to take down a powerful opponent, this time the head of our spy networks. Bureaucratic turf wars are one thing… power grabs are quite another.