The Corner

Conspiracy?

According to Politico:

Members of Congress’s intelligence committees are outraged that they weren’t told until Friday — moments before Petraeus resigned — that he’d been the subject of a months-long FBI investigation that delved into his private emails and exposed his extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.

Obama learned of the inquiry only one day earlier.

On November 9, when the scandal broke, I wrote on Twitter: “Politics is politics, but if this Petraeus stuff wasn’t known prior to the election I’ll eat my shoes.” This prompted Eileen Shim of The New Republic to include me on her a “roundup of Petraeus resignation conspiracy theories.” MSNBC did, too, citing my tweet as one of the “four wildest conspiracy theories” of the cycle, and pretending that I’d said that President Obama knew about it and covered it up, which I very clearly did not.

As Time’s Massimo Calabresi notes:

Forget the salacious details of David Petraeus‘s affair with Paula Broadwell for a moment. Focus on the key national security facts: the head of the CIA was having an extramarital affair, and was communicating with his mistress over an unsecure Gmail account for up to eight months. In the world of espionage, those are potentially important—even vital—secrets, and certainly ones that the Commander in Chief should know. The affair could expose the CIA chief or the mistress to blackmail. The use of an unclassified e-mail account to communicate potentially damaging details of his private life could speak to the judgment of the nation’s top spy.

For these reasons, an official who knew those secrets and didn’t tell the President had better have a good reason for keeping them to himself. And yet the Obama Administration has offered little explanation as to why the Justice Department kept the the President in the dark about the Petraeus affair until two days after the election. Prosecutors and FBI agents knew at least as early as last July that the affair was occurring; high-level Justice officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder, knew in “late summer.” According to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, the President “was obviously surprised” when he learned of the affair on Nov. 8.

I’m sure that The New Republic and MSNBC will be quick to issue a retraction — or to add Calabresi’s name to their lists…

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