There is too much information awaiting disclosure to do a thorough ethical analysis at this point, but it is already clear beyond question that the David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell scandal is an ethics train wreck, with many more individuals and perhaps institutions involved than the direct participants. Today’s news reports that the adulterous affair prompting the much-respected CIA Director’s sudden resignation was triggered by Broadwell’s threatening e-mails to another women she suspected of vying for the General’s affections clinches train wreck status. This thing is still rolling.
Other features of the wreck-in-progress:
- Broadwell is a West Point graduate, and knew that Petraeus was violating the military, intelligence and national security ethics codes by having a relationship with her. She not only did nothing to stop the destructive actions of the man she purportedly loved and admired, but encouraged, facilitated and participated in them, for both career advancement and personal motives.
- Petraeus’s aides in Afghanistan were alarmed by the relationship they saw developing with Broadwell, and apparently took no action.
- Someone whose circumstances strongly suggest that he is Broadwell’s husband wrote to Chuck Klosterman, the new New York Times Ethicist, with this strange query…
“….He is engaged in work that I am passionate about and is absolutely the right person for the job. I strongly feel that exposing the affair will create a major distraction that would adversely impact the success of an important effort. My issue: Should I acknowledge this affair and finally force closure? Should I suffer in silence for the next year or two for a project I feel must succeed?“
- Then there are the unanswered (this far) questions regarding the timing of Petraeus’s announcement, and the fact that the F.B.I. did not immediately inform the Senate Intelligence Committee when it learned of the affair, as required by law.
- Meanwhile, Petraeus’s resignation has removed him from the witness list as Congress tries to get to the bottom of what really happened in Benghazi, when the CIA knew and when, why the Administration was still blaming the anti-Islamic video so long after the siege on the American embassy, why there was no rescue effort, and related questions.
I’m sure there will be more developments.
There always are.
We’ll revisit this train wreck soon.
Facts: Washington Post
Source: New York Times
Graphic: Saturday Evening Post