The timing and other circumstances involved in the events and disclosures leading up to the resignation in disgrace of CIA Director David Petraeus do not compute. There was an investigation by the FBI of the chief of the CIA's personal life during a period of heightened political sensitivity that could have implications going forward for trust and cooperation among the two federal power centers most responsible for foreign and domestic security, according to timelines developed by media piecing together the story.
Investigators at the FBI suggested that because of the nature of the email communications, they feared that Petraeus' personal email account had been compromised. They later determined that his email had been secure and the correspondence was allegedly related to the affair with Paula Broadwell, Petraeus' running partner and official biographer.
Petraeus' resignation came three days after the presidential election. Petraeus' supervisor reportedly did not become aware of the allegations until the night of the election even though the FBI had reportedly been sorting out the details for weeks. By law, agencies are required to notify the committees of significant intelligence developments. No one has explained how a probe that turned up compromising information about the CIA director did not qualify. Sources at the FBI told reporters that the details were kept close to the vest for a period because investigators needed to determine if there had been any criminal conduct and, if so, what role Petraeus played in breaking the law.
President Barack Obama was not informed of the scandal until Thursday.
White House and intelligence officials said again Saturday that there was no connection between Petraeus' resignation and the controversy surrounding the deaths of four Americans in Libya in September. However, Petraeus' scheduled testimony this week before Congressional investigating committees regarding the events in Benghazi was highly anticipated. The CIA now plans to have another representative attend the hearings.
There is a public interest beyond salaciousness in understanding who knew what and when and how that was interpreted as a career-ending situation for the nation's most powerful and accomplished warrior in the fight against international terror.
There is a public right to know how this investigation was instigated, how it unfolded and why an extramarital affair is still regarded in this day and age as so compromising a set of circumstances that it becomes a threat to national security.