We have witnessed an incredible 24/7 media “feeding frenzy” over the ever changing and increasingly salacious scandal involving General David H. Petraeus. What started out with a Tampa socialite, Jill Kelley reporting threatening emails to the FBI has exploded into an international scandal that has taken out and damaged the credibility of the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), the credibility of a West Point graduate and former soldier turned author as well as the top Commander of NATO Forces in Afghanistan.
It’s important clarify the FBI’s role in matters of terror threats and national security and the increasing questions about how, if ultimately no crimes were committed, did this escalate to where we are today. There have been far too many cartoons and editorials unfairly and ignorantly criticizing the FBI for their involvement in this matter. Jill Kelley contacted the FBI and advised that she was receiving threatening emails and that those emails mentioned with the DCI, David Petraeus and his travels. Any reported piece of information of this nature HAS to be investigated and run down to the core and done quickly. Is it coming from al-Qaeda, Hizballah, a right-wing Nazi group or just another unstable individual with an automatic weapon? It is just words or is there a real threat?
Threats to any American citizen are taken seriously by the FBI but one directed at someone at the level of David Petraeus, the DCI particularly considering his record against Islamic terror groups has to be taken most seriously. Under federal law, the Congress mandates the FBI to investigate matters of this nature and the American people most certainly expect it. Can you imagine if a threat of this nature ended up in someone’s in-basket, sat there for days and something happened to the Director? Internet threats are investigated everyday by FBI Special Agents but one involving a specific potential national security threat against the DCI, without question, rate the highest priority. The investigation moves rapidly, subpoenas are served on internet providers to determine the source and veracity of the threat and the pieces of the puzzle quickly come together. It turns out, yes, there was a link to DCI, Patraeus but one where in a paramour, Paula Broadwell sensed that Jill Kelley was in way “getting too close” to Director Petraeus and decided to send the threatening emails.
Case closed in terms of a crime or possible national security threat but the entire matter moves to a different level. The course of the investigation has touched and bought in other elements of the the White House, the Department of Justice of which the FBI is a bureau and of course, Petraeus’ employer, CIA.
Petraeus, being a man of honor and sensing his effectiveness and integrity may be in question, resigns. All the complaints in the national media that an FBI sweep of the internet traffic is a violation of privacy maters are totally unfounded. The emails were seized pursuant to the law and under orders of federal subpoenas and to determine if someone’s life is in danger and in this case, the DCI.
Isn’t that what the American people expect of the FBI?
Many in the media have complained that why didn’t those in the Congress know of this matter. Highly sensitive investigations of this nature areClassified as Top Secret and the FBI may share on a limited basis and through appropriate channels with the Chair of the intelligence committee but these matters are not and should not be for public consumption. Classified investigations of this nature take place every day. They never see and never should see the light of day or the front pages of the newspapers for that matter. Why? Simply put, because people’s lives are at stake. We live in a media frenzied world wheresadly it seems nothing remains secret anymore…and tragically, people die because of it.
After the story simmered for a few days, the FBI was unfairly criticized for “leaking” this matter to the press. Again, a bad call by the press. This matter was outed by members of Congress, not the FBI. Sensitive leaks by Congress are routinely blamed on the FBI or the larger intelligence community. FBI agents and other members of the intelligence community know and protect the value of sensitive information. In a rare case when a leak can be attributed to one of them, usually it’s done unwittingly or accidently and they are fired and prosecuted.
This entire story has a sad ending with the resignation and embarrassment to the DCI and his agency. But, it started with a potential threat to him and the investigation got to the bottom of the matter.
Let’s, as Americans, in this season of giving Thanks, look at the big picture and be grateful for the hard work of the men and women of the FBI who operating under their mandate to keep America safe and the framework of our federal laws, did their job and cleared a potential threat to a very high level and high profile government official, the Director of Central Intelligence.