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LostInParadise's avatar

Why did General Petraeas have to resign?

Asked by LostInParadise (18291 points ) November 12th, 2012

The official explanation that I have seen is that he could have been blackmailed into revealing state secrets. They can’t be serious.

Does anyone really think that he would have so wanted to avoid any embarrassment that he would have done such a thing? He was not an elected official. He had no constituency to answer to. His position did not require him to take a stand on social issues. Who the heck cares about his sex life?

If Bill Clinton had said, “Yes I had sex with that woman,” he would not have been impeached and he would still have been re-elected. Why do we apply a stronger standard to the CIA chief than the president?

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17 Answers

janbb's avatar

There seems to be factual evidence that his lover was looking at his e-mail which does seem compromising to security potentially. She also sounds like a wingnut but chacun a son gout. It does seem like a shame for such a seemingly capable man to have to resign.

rojo's avatar

Because this is not Europe, we have morals over here.

zenvelo's avatar

@LostInParadise Bill Clinton was re-elected.

The reason for his resignation is not the sex, it is that he compromised national security by allowing her access to his emails and other files. The Director of the CIA and the Head of Operations in a war zone can dink anyone all they want as long as they can keep security i mind.

marinelife's avatar

1. He was a member of the intelligence community who are held to very high standards to avoid issues of possible blackmail.

2. He was an ex-military officer and adultery is against the military code.

wundayatta's avatar

Officially, he said he didn’t feel like he could be an example to his employees and remain employed at the CIA. They are required not to have affairs. This is primarily to keep them from being blackmailed. You can’t be blackmailed if everyone already knows, but apparently he applied the rules to himself that said it was the affair that mattered, not the blackmailability.

rojo's avatar

Right wing christian talk radio says it is to assist in the Bengazi coverup.

flutherother's avatar

People in high public positions are supposed to set a good example. Having an affair is not setting a good example, it is selfish and disrespectful. Even the head of the CIA, which is hardly a moral organisation, should have some standards in his personal conduct.

SpatzieLover's avatar

The threatening emails Broadwell sent to a Petraeus family friend caused the FBI to open an investigation.
Quite frankly I was amazed they allowed him to resign instead of firing him.

JLeslie's avatar

What I heard was the investigation had been done and all were cleared of any possible security problems.

glacial's avatar

Do we know that he had to resign? I can understand wanting to distance himself from the inevitable media nightmare. It is easier to remain more private if one is not working for the government. Maybe he is feeling shame over the situation and wants to punish himself. Maybe he does not want to be an embarrassment to the CIA and the position he held. That is a different thing from wanting to avoid personal embarrassment.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think anyone should be fired for having an affair. Also… I notice that the people who usually push hardest for that have a curious tendency to get caught doing exactly the same thing.

mazingerz88's avatar

I think he would have been fired and just given the honorable path of submitting his resignation.

wundayatta's avatar

He didn’t have to resign. He offered his resignation to the President, but it was not accepted immediately. The President accepted his resignation the next day. We can only imagine why the President’s thinking was on this, but I’d like to think that the delay shows that the President was trying to find a way to keep Petraeus around.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Petraeus was asked to resign by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

LostInParadise's avatar

Public officials are obligated to follow the law. If Petraeas had done anything illegal, he would have to leave office one way or another. Having extramarital sex, regardless of your sense of morals. is not illegal. There is no firm evidence that Petraeas did anything against the law or compromised national security. I am sure that Clinton knew a lot of secrets whose divulgence could have hurt national security, but nobody ever even suggested that. The only thing that Clinton was charged with was lying under oath, which does not apply in the case of Petraeas.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@LostInParadise Patraeus was an appointed official, not an elected official.

If an employee of a company was caught having an affair while at work, there was an email record to prove the affair happened at work, and one of the persons in the affair began emailing threats to other employees, that employee would be fired.

You keep comparing the Director of the CIA to a former President. There is an immense difference between an appointed position to that of an elected one.

We reelected Clinton into office after his affair. Would we all do the same if the Director of the CIA was an elected position. This scandal is still unraveling. So far, we know that Patraeus knew the FBI was investigating him, and we know he did nothing to alert the White House to the investigation. IMO, his closed mouth on his own investigation is enough of a security breech to fire him.

LostInParadise's avatar

The blackmail potential is much greater for an elected official who is facing re-election.

Did Petraeas really carry on the affair at work? Did he do this during working hours? Did he bring a bed into his Washington office? This is the first I heard of it. Such gross arrogance and stupidity should definitely result in being fired. On the other hand, if he did what he did on his own time then I don’t see what concern it is of ours.

janbb's avatar

@LostInParadise The concern seems to be what access his lover had to confidential information and what she may have done with it.

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