Scott Shane’s reporting on the Petraeus story adds further support to my post of last night, which argued there was partisan political motivation on the part of the FBI agent, who initially began the investigation into Petraeus:
Ms. Kelley…brought her complaint to a rank-and-file agent she knew from a previous encounter with the F.B.I. office, the official also said. That agent, who had previously pursued a friendship with Ms. Kelley and had earlier sent her shirtless photographs of himself, was “just a conduit” for the complaint, he said. He had no training in cybercrime, was not part of the cyber squad handling the case and was never assigned to the investigation.
But the agent, who was not identified, continued to “nose around” about the case, and eventually his superiors “told him to stay the hell away from it, and he was not invited to briefings,” the official said. The Wall Street Journal first reported on Monday night that the agent had been barred from the case.
Later, the agent became convinced — incorrectly, the official said — that the case had stalled. Because of his “worldview,” as the official put it, he suspected a politically motivated cover-up to protect President Obama. The agent alerted Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, who called the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, on Oct. 31 to tell him of the agent’s concerns.
The official said the agent’s self-described “whistle-blowing” was “a little embarrassing” but had no effect on the investigation.
So an FBI agent has the hots for this woman and does an Anthony Weiner, sending her semi-porno, and this is the guy who the FBI allows to commence an investigation into America’s most decorated general? As for the agent’s “world-view,” that’s a euphemism for him being a far-right extremist more comfortable picking up chicks and hanging out with the likes of Dave Reichert and Eric Cantor. The FBI so far has announced no discipline against this loose cannon. UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility had opened an investigation of his conduct.
Jane Mayer in the New Yorker advances some excellent thoughts about the GOP political motivations behind this case:
…Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader…released a statement to the Times confirming that he had spoken to the F.B.I. informant, whom his staff described as a “whistleblower.” Cantor said, “I was contacted by an F.B.I. employee who was concerned that sensitive, classified information might have been compromised.” But what, exactly, was this F.B.I. employee trying to expose? Was he blowing the whistle on his bosses? If so, why? Was he dissatisfied with their apparent exoneration of Petraeus? Given that this drama was playing out in the final days of a very heated Presidential campaign, and he was taking a potentially scandalous story to the Republican leadership in Congress, was there a political motive?
According to the Times, Cantor said he took the information, and “made certain that director Mueller”—that is Robert Mueller III, the director of the F.B.I.—“was aware of these serious allegations, and the potential risk to our national security.” This is a strange way to explain his contact with the F.B.I. on this matter, because it is almost inconceivable that director Mueller was not already aware that the bureau he runs had examined the e-mail account of the director of the C.I.A., and, further, confronted him in person. Such a meeting between the bureau and head of the C.I.A. would have been extraordinary, and it is fairly unthinkable that Mueller wouldn’t have been consulted. So what information was Cantor conveying when he got in touch with Mueller?
One obvious point of the call would have been to inform the F.B.I. director that Republicans on the Hill knew about Petraeus’s vulnerability, and also about the investigation. If the F.B.I. had ever entertained hopes of keeping it secret, the odds of doing so were fast diminishing. The same message would have become clear to Petraeus, who was due to testify in front of a House panel next week.
The notion that the FBI agent was a “whistleblower” or truly concerned about national security issues is ludicrous. Cantor and the agent saw an opportunity to cut the legs out from under Obama by felling one of his top generals. This sounds about as partisan as it comes. The only factor Cantor didn’t exploit was the presidential election. He could’ve leaked it before November 6th and tried to make it a factor in the election. But that would’ve opened the GOP to a wicked backlash, when it was eventually known how little this case had to do with national security. That’s undoubtedly the reason they protected John Boehner and didn’t include him in this. Cantor was the capo who was meant to do the dirty-work here. In case there was any fall-out they needed to insulate the boss.
The agency now appears to be seeking the scalp of another U.S. general, John Allen, the current Afghanistan commander, who had “inappropriate communication” with Jill Kelley. Don’t ask me what that phrase means. It clearly isn’t illegal, which is what I believed the FBI was mandated to investigate.
While I’m not generally a huge fan of the American military, are we going to sink so low as to investigate the e-mail correspondence of all our commanding generals. If nothing else, this may persuade them to use more secure forms of communication for conducting their amorous pursuits. I’m not a fan of adultery or betraying one’s spouse either, but do we want to include sexual purity as a condition for earning the rank of general?
To be clear, I believe it should continue to be impermissible for officers to sleep with subordinates. But why should a sexual affair or “inappropriate correspondence” between a general and a civilian be grounds for terminating a career?
My last word on this concerns the dim-witted woman who opened this can of worms: Jill Kelley. While judging someone by their looks isn’t the most charitable thing to do, she looks like she’s had a full-body makeover; and that her primary physical goal in life was to resemble a Playboy model. There’s nothing wrong with that, and clearly there are men for whom this enough to do things to threaten or destroy their careers.
Our Playboy model was a little light in the brains department when she went to the FBI. Did she really think they’d confine their exploration of her e-mail account to the 5-10 threatening messages from Paula Broadwell. Did she really think they wouldn’t find the 10-20,000 pages worth of e mails to and from Gen. Allen? Or the ones from Gen. Petraeus?
Sometimes it’s absolutely shocking how major affairs of state can be determined by the most brainless decisions of callow, self-involved people.
Oh and I’m still waiting for the FBI to investigate all those e-mail death threats I’ve reported to them over the years. If I looked like Jill Kelley I bet they’d get right on it.