If there’s anybody who should be handling the General Petraeus/CIA/FBI/biographer/socialite scandal it’s Olivia Pope. For those of you who watch the ABC series “Scandal” you’re familiar with what Olivia and her team do. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ll explain myself – they’re fixers, Washington, D.C. style. There’s no problem too big for Pope and Associates. Her team can return a kidnapped baby back into the loving arms of her Russian diplomat parents. Mistresses and love-struck White House interns are dealt with and dispatched before their indiscretions become a blip on the media’s radar. They can skirt all sorts of authorities – and laws – if a member of Congress or a governor or even a president manages to muck up their lives with affairs, corruption and murder. Olivia would be perfect for this real life D.C. brouhaha, especially considering the fact that she’s had her own affair with the president on “Scandal”.
She’s not real, though, and that’s too bad. Now the players in this mess are trying to fix things themselves, and we know that’s not going to work out too well for them. It’s already become the fodder for late night talk show hosts and their jokes. The General has made the same mistake that people in positions of power have made time and time again. He turned his back on everything he believed in as well as the people who believed in him, and fell for a woman who wanted to rub elbows, and other body parts, with greatness. All of his education, experience and, apparently, common sense went right out the window when he started to think that Paula Broadwell was in love with just David – not the 4 star General and Director of the CIA. What a foolish and egotistical man.
So now, the General, Mrs. Broadwell, Jill Kelley and FBI Agent Humphries are in the midst of a much larger investigation. The action, emails and activities of this group of very foolish people have given members of Congress and the media something to wag their tongues about, not to mention the giant headaches some folks at the White House are suffering. Everyone even remotely involved in this mess is going to come under the kind of scrutiny, the likes of which they are unfamiliar with and, more than likely, not going to be able to deal with.
The most annoying player in this bit of tawdry theater is Jill Kelley, who, from where I’m sitting, looks like she’s actually enjoying all of her 15 minutes. Mrs. Kelley, a Tampa socialite and Honorary Counsel to South Korea – a position which amounts to little more than being a good event planner and party hostess – involved the FBI after she began receiving emails which she felt amounted to harassment. In the course of the FBI’s investigation, spearheaded by Kelley family friend, Agent Frederick Humphries, the email stalker’s name was discovered – Paula Broadwell. More and more emails began to surface, thousands of them in fact. Broadwell was jealous of Kelley, Kelley was jealous of Broadwell and General John Allen, another friend of the Kelleys was thrown in for good measure. Under the heading of sex, lies and photographs, Agent Humphries sent out an email of himself without his shirt – just some funny stuff between friends.
The fallout has been staggering. Whether it deserves this much attention has yet to be determined. Petraeus has resigned his position as CIA Director. Agent Humphries will be investigated for his role in the scandal. There are some questions as to whether he had the right to insinuate himself into the whole matter as well as it was within his discretion to determine what and what isn’t a matter of National Security. Broadwell, whose computer was found to have contained some classified documents, has been stripped of her security clearance. She still has that biography to sell, though. By the way, the title is “All In” – it’s too easy, so go ahead and insert your own jokes here. Kelley is the laughing-stock of Tampa, Washington, D.C. and Seoul. That hasn’t quite sunk in with her yet. She called 911 to report that the news media had descended on her house and suggested to the dispatcher that the police might want to call in some diplomatic level of assistance. After all, don’t they know who she is? I think I know who she is. She’s one of those political donors who is given some worthless title as a thank you gift for supporting a candidate. She, along with her sister and husband, aren’t even good donors, having crashed a fundraiser for Marco Rubio in 2010 and then leaving without so much as a tip for the wait staff. She, and her family, are the Salahis – wannabes who are more trouble than they’re worth.
The disgraced General and his wife, Holly, have a long and rocky road ahead of them. How they deal with this is none of our business. While I love conspiracy theories, if Petraeus was doing his job, in spite of what was going on behind all of those closed door sessions with Broadwell, then none of this should have been our business. What is our business is when and by whom the story was known. I don’t want to think that there was some kind of cloak and dagger stuff going on, involving election cycles and partisan politics. I don’t enjoy them. In fact, I don’t want to see us, our Country, become the objects of ridicule, particularly in light of the tenuous and even dangerous nature of foreign policy and global relations. It would be nice if this whole thing could be put to bed, so to speak, with the least amount of damage to America and our leaders.
As for Petraeus, well, he’ll have to face those who hold all the cards. His military pension is in jeopardy because the Uniform Military Code of Justice frowns on infidelity and it’s authority extends even to retirees. He’s going to have to answer for how and when this affair took place. If it did, as has been rumored, go back to 2010, while he was still a general, then he puts his career and future in jeopardy. All of this will look like a walk in the park given the fact that, after all is said and done, Holly Petraeus will get to weigh in with her own version of justice. If she decides to forgive him, then she’s a better woman than I am. Her husband took oaths of honor and vows of trust and fidelity. Thirty seven years is a long time to stand beside someone as a partner, particularly when you’ve been a military wife. She’s made more than her share of sacrifices. This can’t be how she saw a post-military life. On the other hand, her husband probably never believed that he would ever make such a foolhardy and sophomoric decision. In a world where a man is only as good as his word, David Petraeus surrendered his ethics and morality – leaving him with nothing.
This real life scandal would have made for some great television. Olivia Pope would have been able to retire on the fees she could have made with this disaster. She could have fixed this and it probably would have remained none of our business.