U.S. Army General and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, David Petraeus

David Petraeus

Petraeus as Major General, 2004
Petraeus as Major General, 2004 | Source

Introduction

U.S. Army General David Petraeus reached the epitome of his fame in November of 2012 when he resigned from his post as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. His resignation was prompted by an illicit affair.

The military does not allow certain relationships, certain "unprofessional relationships". Among those relationships is an adulterous one. The impact of said adultery takes into account things like military status or rank at the time of the adultery. The maximum penalty for adultery in the military is dishonorable discharge.

Knowing all these things General Petraeus resigned.

President Obama and General David Petraeus

Source

David Petraeus

David Petraeus was born on November 7, 1952. His mother was a librarian and his father was a sea captain from the Netherlands. Petraeus lived in Cornwall-on-the Hudson, in New York State. He graduated from Cornwall Central High School in 1970 where he was a National Merit Scholar.

His nickname was "Peaches". Vanity Fair wrote that nickname was given to Petraeus because he couldn't grow a beard. Petraeus loved sports. He played pit basketball, Little League baseball, tennis and soccer. He is said to credit his team sports with teaching him the discipline he later needed in Military life. In addition to sports Petraeus was also involved in drama, debate and French. The list doesn't stop there, he belonged to the National Honor Society and headed the town’s ecumenical religious youth group, again, according to Vanity Fair.

Petraeus was also a newspaper boy through high school.

More Facts about Petraeus

He was commissioned an infantry officer in 1974

He was assigned to the 509th Airborne Battalion Combat Team, a light infantry unit in Italy

In 1981, Petraeus became aide-de-camp to the Commanding General of the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized)

He served as Chief of Operations for NATO in Haiti in early 1995

In 2000, at 46 years old, he achieved the rank of brigadier general.

He served as Commanding General of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center (CAC) from 2005 to February 2007...during that time he and Marine Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis jointly oversaw the publication of Field Manual 3–24, Counterinsurgency

According to en.wikipedia.org he has been called "the world's leading expert in counter-insurgency warfare"

It seems Petraeus developed his desire to attend West Point from many different sources. First, he lived about five miles from West Point, next, many of his neighbors and teachers were West Point graduates, and it was (and is) extremely competitive and required a congressional appointment.

Petraeus has never said exactly why he chose to attend West Point, but he graduated in 1974. He later attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He next earned a PhD from Princenton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Following that he served as an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the U.S. Military Academy. He did his doctoral dissertation on the American Military and Lessons of Vietnam.

His career is extensive and impressive. He was involved in the war in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division. In June 2004, less than six months after the 101st returned to the U.S., Petraeus was promoted to lieutenant general and became the first commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq, according to en.wikipedia.org. In 2008 he gave over command of Iraq to General Raymond T. Odierno. In 2010 he served as Commander of U.S. and ISAF forces in Afghanistan. He was sworn as the Director the CIA in 2011.

This is a look at his career in a nutshell. Many details have not been included. His awards for example range from Honorary Officer of the Order of Australia, to the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, one of the Military's highest awards, with numerous other awards in between. He has three honorary degrees in addition to those he earned, and his recognitions and published works read like a litany. In the video game, Call of Duty, Black Ops 2, he is the Secretary of Defense in 2025. His voice was done by an actor in the game.

David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell

This is a now famous photo of General Petraeus and author Paula Broadwell.
This is a now famous photo of General Petraeus and author Paula Broadwell. | Source

It Ended with an Affair

After having such a remarkable career in the Military, it all ended because of an affair. An affair with his biographer, author Paula Broadwell. The bioagraphy, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, had them spending two years together working on the biography, which [biography] many say sheds a very positive light on Petraeus. By the time his affair came to light, he was the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Reports say the affair came to light when another woman, Jill Kelley, complained of being cyber stalked by Paula Broadwell. By the way, Kelley and her family were friends with Petraeus and his family. An FBI investigation opened this can of worms... an apparent affair between Petraues and Broadwell along with a very large number of emails between Kelley and one General John R. Allen. It also seems Ms. Kelley had some photos of a shirtless FBI agent.

President Obama could have suspended Petraues, could have begun military proceedings, but chose to just accept his resignation. Congress, however, was upset that they were not told about the affair before Petraeus resigned and everything became public. After all, there was an FBI investigation going on prior to his resignation, but, apparently Congress was kept in the dark...lots of speculation going on about that.

The Petraeus affair: heard around the world, From a street market in Pakistan to a newsstand in Peru, people across the globe voice their minds over America's new scandal. A headline on the news site GlobalPost, November 14, 2012.

Friends have revealed that the former head of the CIA has given up his relentless schedule of high level meetings for ‘self-imposed exile’ and grovelling to his family. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2236936/Petraeus-sex-scandal-Former-CIA-boss-groveling-wife-Holly.html#ixzz2EyKwYOiC
Obviously public opinion runs high in this matter. Some admire him for his honesty, others condemn him for the affair. Of course many older women are outraged, fearing the fate of Holly Petraus could be theirs as well. David and Holly have been married thirty-eight and a half years...why he chose to make his affair public will remain a mystery, unless he decides to write a book about that!

The Court of Public Opinion is a tough one....who knows which way things will go for the now retired David Petraeus. What's your opinion?

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

David Petraeus Resigns Over Affair With Biographer Paula Broadwell

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Comments 29 comments

Kenja profile image

Kenja 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

Fascinating man, and brilliant. Good background info Tillson. For my view on the public view see my Petreaus Hub.


ImKarn23 profile image

ImKarn23 3 years ago

Sigh..so difficult - this question, Mary..We, the public are given bits and pieces of this, a bite of that - and the truth is lost somewhere between secrecy, corruption, and red tape! I couldn't care less who he doing - goats for all i care, BUT - IF he was sharing state secrets - he should be in front of a firing squad!

Assuming he does his due diligence on whoever he's bedding, makes sure it's not a russian spy, and keeps his mouth shut - WHO CARES other than his wife and kids..If the guy has done an exemplary job - and has the good of the country at heart - and has changed the course of wars - do we really care? Don't we already know that everybody's screwing everybody else - literally AND figuratively...

Great hub, made this girl think - and she loves that...

up, across - and out, my friend..we gotta get some traffic here to read this!


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

You did a great job on presenting facts here. The truth...may never be known. How many officials have had affairs..lets not go there. I am still curious why this was such a big deal..or better put why he decided to confess at the time he did.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for reading Kenja....I just read your hub and enjoyed it. Thanks for pointing me to it!

IM I agree with you totally, where he sleeps is his business....however, what kind of pillow talk happens could be our business. Secrecy, corruption and red tape (as you say) will definitely keep us from knowing the real truths but, as you also said, lots to think about here!

Carol as IM said, it is the nature of the beast. Man (and woman) have been cheating on each for a very long time (not to mention Bill Clinton and others)....where does this leave the good General and the "state secrets"? We'll never know.


ambercita04 profile image

ambercita04 3 years ago from Winter Park

A lot of people have affairs for many different reasons. I think that a person should not lose their job or be forced to resign just because they had an affair... I think people's personal lives should remain that - their personal lives. And it continues to amaze me how people are so surprised when they find out someone in power had an affair. People in power are just like your next door neighbor cheating on his wife. I read this article because I have heard a lot of things but wasn't really sure what was going on. But I think President Obama handled it just fine. He probably gave the General an option - go quietly or this could get messy. Just speculating... I think that was kind of the President to do for a man that for most of his life has done a great job.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

The mighty always seem to think they are above the rules, don't they? What an incredible career and what a stupid mistake. Great job of detailing the event and his bio.


mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

What a terrible mistake for a man with such a distinguished career. I thought that Obama handled it well by not making too big of a deal out of it and just accepting Petraeus's resignation. Voted up and interesting!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I agree ambercitao, I think that is exactly why Pres. Obama accepted his resignation.

Thanks Bill...just goes to show even "the mighty" make stupid mistakes.

I'm in total agreement mperrottet.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

You've done a superb job on this multi-layered story, Til....a fascinating and mysterious aura to this entire saga. It never fails to sadden me when a good and gifted individual, for all intents and purpose, take one thoughtless mis-step and go down in History with a single flaw, overwhelming the rest. Bravo to you for this job well-done Til. I admire the tireless effort you put forth into your writing career........UP+++


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 3 years ago

Hi Tillsontitan, thanks for sharing a Brilliant, unbiased report on the General...His rise and fall. Hopefully he will be remember for his Career, which was dedicated to our Country, and not his affair. Thanks for sharing.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

I heard about David Petraeus when US involvement in Afghanistan went bad to worst. The undulating life of his rise and fall is very interesting.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

Hi Tillsontitan,

This is an interesting very good biography of David Petraeus. Many people still can't understand why Petraeus admitted the affair and resigned and why it is such a big deal. From what I understand, The General wouldn't have admitted the affair without the prodding of a superior who suggested he resign. As Director of the CIA, I think Petraeus had already retired from the Army to take the position. As director of the CIA, Petraeus held the highest of top secret security clearances. When you hold clearances like that you can't have secret affairs. Why? Because you will be a target for blackmail. If Petraeus hadn't resigned, the FBI would have informed the CIA and their (CIA's) internal security network would have suspended all of the General's security clearances and started detailed investigations including polygraph tests. If the investigation turned up damaging results, Petraeus would have been forced to quit the CIA and possibly face legal action. Why do you think he hired one of the most famous lawyers in D.C.!! Voted up and sharing.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

Very interesting indeed and I vote up plus share.

Eddy.


Steve West profile image

Steve West 3 years ago from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Too bad his career ended this way. What an incredibly educated and experienced man. I enjoyed the hub tillsontitan. Up and interesting as always.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

It is definitely a multi-layered story Effer. It was actually hard to write...mis-step, gifted individual...definitely Petraeus. GF you understand how complicated this whole situation really is!

b. Malin, I couldn't agree more! Wouldn't it be a pity if that's how he goes down in history?

Thanks Vinaya, it must be interesting reading about this from your perspective.

Paul, you've stated the facts well too. Top security and positions of 'secret' level, leave people more suspect and therefore they really do have to be more careful than the 'average bear'!

Thanks so much Eddy!

You too Steve, glad you enjoyed.


joanveronica profile image

joanveronica 3 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

Hi Mary, congrats on a great write and a good read!

How sad to see such a brilliant career cut short, as if the world had a surplus of brilliant professionals! What a waste!

Voted up, awesome and interesting!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

You put that sarcastically brilliant Joan, "as if the world had a surplus of brilliant professionals"! God bless.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Interesting hub about General Petreaus. I think the court of public opionion is always judgmental, and the media certainly doesn't help. The affair a personal matter, and I wish only the best to the former CIA director and his family. To say that he served his country well is an understatement.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I agree Genna. It is sad that his career is now based on a personal matter.


Doodlehead profile image

Doodlehead 3 years ago from Northern California

He chose this end. Two years in affair is enough time for him to decide to leave.

I think the issue is trust. He is now untrustworthy at any level. There. I said it.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

And, Doodlehead, I'm sure you're not alone with that thought! Thanks for stopping by.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

We had a president who had an affair not one thing was done to him for having that affair, unless Hilary did something we don't know about.

I think it's sad for Petraeus but he brought it on. He's the one that made the decision to do what he did. What was he thinking sure not with his brain.

My only problem with the ex-president and Petraeus, they're to busy jumping in beds and not doing their jobs the safe way they should be done for this country. Just another for scandal America.

Voted up.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Oh moonlake, you make a good point no one else here commented on, our good old President Clinton! Hmm, double standards...I would think national security would come into play with a President too!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina

Great write up on D.P, Mary. You really did keep to the facts and did not present it with bias-great job. Of course everyone has their own opinion...

This whole 'fall of a male public figure by a female journalist' reminds me of the John Edwards scandal with his 'photojournalist'. What a shame-DP is a brilliant man with an outstanding career.

Up/U/I and shared.


Kenja profile image

Kenja 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

Silly, and sillier. Not to mention hypocritical. It's months later, and are we somehow "safer" now that the great Petraeus has resigned? We make rote statements as if in our sleep... How is that General Eisenhower led all the Allied troops, prevailed at D-Day and won the war while having a longtime affair with his secretary? While back at home, FDR got us out of the Depression and served very well as Commander in Chief during our most crucial foreign war while he was intimate, and for some time, with one of his assistants... This is childish.

It's amazing that Clinton led the country, our longest peacetime expansion, and successfully conducted the war in Bosnia (without a single American casualty), AND got one BJ from an adoring young intern too! (No affair, just 2-3 brief encounters). And who did Petraeus mingle with -- an American or a Russian spy, hmm?

HOW IS IT that we adult citizens hold f/t jobs, raise a family, belong to charities and business organizations, take care of our homes, go grocery shopping and to the gym -- AND have sex now and again too?! It's amazing, simply amazing... Don't like Presidents, Congresspeople or Generals having affairs? Fine. Shake your finger in their face. But shouldn't an affair (esp. a one-timer or one that lasts only 2-3 months), be between the persons involved and his or her spouse, the cheater and his or her conscience, and between the persons involved and his or her God? Is this somehow like rape, incest or child molestation? Of course not. So why are you, Christian Americans of 2012/13, throwing the first stone? Equal shame on the shamers...


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Denise this is a sad end to a great career. I deliberately tried not to take sides, to the let the reader make his/her own decision.

The other thing Kenja, is all the affairs in Hollywood ...they sell movies and keep 'stars' in the news...a little hypocrisy there too?


Kenja profile image

Kenja 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

Hypocrisy no; movie stars "thrive" on publicity, good and bad. And hey, it's Hollywood -- they're like a mix of modern hippies and pretty urban singles, always partying. Hollywood does what Hollywood always does.

As for sex in Washington DC... even the Father of our country, Washington, and the other founding fathers, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, heck, they sure played around. Our politicians... are passionate people, with real blood coursing through their veins.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 13 months ago from Dallas, Texas

I read this with interest and the thought that kept ringing in my mind was of our former president whose actions in the oval office were shameful and embarrassing to our country, yet, he was allowed to continue as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. It seems that people are quick to judge and condemn others whose indiscretions have been made public unless they happen to be a celebrity or an athlete. The ongoing concern and continued popularity of a former basketball player who was found in a coma at a brothel after overdosing on drugs makes it clear to me that the double standard exists in judgement on this subject.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 13 months ago from New York Author

Kenja, I owe you an apology. I somehow missed commenting on your comment! True, Hollywood does what Hollywood does, but that doesn't make it right! Yes, politicians are real people, with real blood, and real feelings.

Peg, I agree with you. I think athlete worship starts in high school with the all glorious football stars, not a good thing. It carriers through to our adult lives and we know the results. Petraeus should have been cut some slack.

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