Petraeus's Lover Quoted from Petraeus E-Mail in Piece Published by Wash Post--in January

November 10, 2012 - 3:36 PM

Holly Petraeus, Gen. David Petraeus, Vice President Joe Biden (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Holly Petraeus, Gen. David Petraeus, Vice President Joe Biden (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

(CNSNews.com) - Paula Broadwell, a reserve Army officer who reportedly had an extramarital affair with Gen. David Petraeus, co-authored a feature about him for the Washington Post earlier this year that focused on the days leading up to Petraeus's June 23, 2011 confirmation hearing as director of the CIA and depicted his resolve not to resign his military command, even if he disagreed with President Obama's decision to withdraw surge troops from Afghanistan by the end of the summer of 2012.

The story, which was excerpted from a book Broadwell co-authored with Washington Post reporter Vernon Loeb, describes Petraeus paying tribute to his wife at the start of his CIA confirmation hearing.

It also quotes directly from emails that Petraeus exchanged with a retired general about a meeting he was about to have with President Obama.

"He began his prepared remarks by recognizing his wife, Holly, his partner for '37 years and 23 moves," wrote Broadwell and Loeb in the Post piece. "He then addressed, up front, some of the skepticism about his move to the CIA and what it meant. Responding to some who had wondered in print whether he would be able to “grade my own work,” he said he was “keenly aware” that as CIA director he would be an intelligence officer, not a policymaker."

Broadwell and Loeb's feature in the Post starts with them describing a June 21, 2011 email exchange between Petraeus and retired Gen. Jack Keane, the former vice chief of staff of the Army. The exchange took place as Petraeus was headed to the White House to meet with President Obama and other administration officials to discuss the president's plan to draw down U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The story quotes verbatim from these emails exchanged between the soon-to-be CIA director and a person Broadwell and Loeb describe as one of Petraeus's mentors.

"On the way from the Pentagon, retired Army general Jack Keane, a mentor and former vice chief of staff of the Army, e-mailed Petraeus with rumors of what he was hearing: The White House was going to recommend 10,000 troops depart by the end of 2011, with the remaining 23,000 surge forces out by the summer of 2012, a far more drastic timetable for withdrawal than Petraeus had recommended," wrote Broadwell and Loeb.

"Keane was protective of his prodigy. Obama’s decision 'not only protracts the war but risks the mission,' Keane said in the e-mail, then asked: 'should you consider resigning?'" Broadwell and Loeb wrote in the Post.

"'I don’t think quitting would serve our country,” Petraeus responded. 'More likely to create a crisis. And, I told POTUS I’d support his ultimate decision. Besides, the troops can’t quit. . . .'" Broadwell and Loeb revealed.

The Post published the story on Jan. 23, 2012.

The story goes on to describe in detail Petraeus's June 21, 2011 meeting with Obama at the White House about the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan.

"Petraeus refused to discuss his interactions with the president for this account, but officials briefed on the White House meeting confirmed that Obama, Petraeus, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Vice President Biden, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other senior national security officials engaged in a lengthy debate, tense but respectful, over the pace of the drawdown," Broadwell and Loeb reported.

The president decided not to accept Petraeus's recommendation that 23,000 troops the president wanted to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of the summer of 2012 should stay there through November (which meant past the 2012 election).

"There was general agreement with Obama’s desire to draw down 10,000 troops by the end of 2011, though that was a larger figure than Petraeus and the military had recommended," Broadwell and Loeb reported in the Post. "But there was sharp disagreement over when the remaining 23,000 surge troops should leave Afghanistan. Petraeus had recommended that they stay in Afghanistan through November 2012, which marked the end of the annual fighting season."

"When Obama turned to Petraeus, the general was respectful, but he was not budging," Broadwell and Loeb reported. "He expressed concern that removing the troops before the end of the fighting season would increase risk considerably and could invalidate the campaign plan."

After it was reported that Obama had rejected Petraeus's recommendation not to withdraw the additional troops from Afghanistan until the end of November 2012, retired Gen. Keane sent Petraeus another email, Broadwell and Loeb reported in the Post.

"Keane, the retired general, denounced the decision and told Petraeus in another e-mail that it appeared to undermine his counterinsurgency campaign just as it was nally gaining momentum," Broadwell and Loeb reported. "'My god, Dave, they just pushed your recommendations aside and changed the war fundamentally. What a mess,' Keane wrote. Petraeus did not respond."

While Petraeus paid tribute to his wife of 37 years at the beginning of his CIA confirmation hearing, it was only at the end of that hearing that Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan asked him if he agreed with President Obama's decision to draw down the forces in Afghanistan. As Broadwell and Loeb described in the Washington Post excerpt from their book, Petraeus made clear at that he had taken an oath and that he strongly believed a commander should not resign unless he was in "a very, very dire situation.

Here is how Broadwell and Loeb narrated it:

"'I obviously support the ultimate decision of the commander in chief,” Petraeus said. 'That is, we take an oath to obey the orders of the president of the United States and indeed do that.'

“'And if you couldn’t do that--if you couldn’t do that consistent with that oath--you would resign?” asked Levin.

“'Well, I’m not a quitter, chairman,' Petraeus said. 'I’ve actually had people e-mail me and say that I should quit, and actually this is something I’ve thought a bit about.'

"'I’m sure you have,' Levin said.

"'And I don’t think it is the place for a commander to actually consider that step unless you are in a very, very dire situation,' said Petraeus. ' . . . I actually feel quite strongly about this. Our troopers don’t get to quit, and I don’t think commanders should contemplate that, again, as any kind of idle action. That would be an extraordinary action, in my view. And at the end of the day, this is not about me, it’s not about an individual commander, it’s not about a reputation. This is about our country. And the best step for our country, with the commander in chief having made a decision, is to execute that decision to the very best of our ability.'"

Petraeus announced his resignation as CIA director in a brief statement to CIA employees on Friday. "After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair," said Petraeus. "Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours."

The Wall Street Journal identified Paula Broadwell as the woman involved. The Journal said that an FBI investigation into whether someone else was using the CIA director's Gmail account led to discovery of the affair.

"The computer investigation began late this spring, according to a person familiar with the investigation," the WSJ reported. "Mr. Petraeus wasn't interviewed by the FBI until recently. While Mr. Petraeus was still a general, he had email exchanges with the woman, but there wasn't a physical relationship, the person said. The affair began after Mr. Petraeus retired from the Army in August 2011 and ended months ago, the person said."

A tagline on Broadwell and Loeb's Jan. 23, 2012 piece on Petraeus in the Post said: "Excerpted from 'All In: The Education of General David Petraeus' by Paula Broadwell with Washington Post staff writer Vernon Loeb, to be published by Penguin Press on Monday."