You guessed ABC’s hit show Scandal, right? You know, the steamy drama depicting the maze-like relationships of the DC beltway. Why is this scandal so fitting? Because, what started out as a seemingly normal political sex story has ballooned into a…well…ginormous political sex story involving several women, two prominent statesman, crazed FBI agents, House majority leaders, and a host of other clandestine actors. Let’s discuss it in totality.
General Petraeus, a highly decorated soldier and leader of our military in the Middle East for some time, resigned from his post as CIA Director last Friday. During this resignation, he explained that Paula Broadwell, his biographer, had also been his mistress. The resignation came while citing the affair as the key reason he was stepping down from his illustrious post. For this type of “risky” behavior, Petraeus was relinquishing his role at the head of our Central Intelligence Agency. And, understandably so. A post of such distinction and honor should not be sullied with a sex scandal. Well, some would think that the story stops there. But, this is an episode of Scandal so there has to be more right? Yes, yes there does.
This whole ordeal came about in May when a Florida socialite named Jill Kelley alerted the FBI (yes, the FBI) that she was receiving “threatening” emails from Broadwell. So, the FBI launched an investigation into the threats. This is when the Petraeus affair came to light. But wait, the plot thickens. General John Allen, top commander in Afghanistan, was apparently having “inappropriate” correspondences with Kelley. The commander sent between 20,000 and 30,000 documents and emails to Kelley in just two years. So, needless to day, he was extremely busy keeping “in touch.” We have yet to find out what the content of said correspondence was but it must have been very, very important.
Well, Gen. Allen is set for a confirmation hearing to become General Petraeus’ official back-fill in Afghanistan and now, with the allegations swirling about a potential security breach between himself and Kelley, the Capitol is frozen in time. With President Obama’s long awaited withdrawal from Afghanistan, Gen. Allen’s leadership is imperative in overseeing and managing America’s Middle East presence. So, having his confirmation hanging in the balance right now is very inconvenient for the Obama Administration. But, there’s still more. You’re thinking, “can this story get any creepier?” Why yes, yes it can. Enter random shirtless FBI agent. So, the guy who led the charge to get Petraeus removed from office apparently sent shirtless photos of himself to Kelley. And, in what some say was an obsession with the woman, got himself caught in this wacky web of television worthy drama. And, it seems his actions resulted in him being barred from handling the case at all.
Okay, so, now that we have all the facts cleared up, what the cuss?!? Petraeus, Allen, Broadwell and Kelley are all married. And, General Allen faces criminal charges if it is found that he committed adultery since he is still an active member of the US military. For those who do not know, adultery is a punishable offense in the military and in many states. The real question is, who in the world has time to write a manuscript while vying for the highest position in today’s “War on Terror?” I mean, really. What could he possibly have had to tell Kelley that required nearly 12 million words to say? It is truly ridiculous. Maybe he was working on a doctoral thesis and wanted her to wordsmith it? Who’s to say?
Some have said that this whole spectacle brings the Benghazi attacks into question. Heck, this brings the whole cover up into question as well. A random socialite contacts an FBI agent for what seems to be spam, the FBI agent sends the info up the Bureau’s chain of command, it eventually gets to the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, all before reaching the President’s desk? I smell a conspiracy. This somehow came out within a week of President Obama’s win and will likely tie-up Washington for the duration of the lame-duck session in Congress. Queue Olivia Pope. Its her turn on set.
This is not a story about email stupidity. Its not even a story about opportunistic home-wreckers. What these people do in their private lives should be just that, private. What really seems odd here is that the military complex we’ve built in this country is supposed to pride itself on being honorable, just, pure, and even holy. This is the same institution that, up until last year, disallowed open homosexual relationships in its ranks. And now what? How do we explain this? This is truly a trip to bizarro world. But, not only that, it totally undermines the American desire to thwart marriage equality efforts for all people.
Instead of watching a show with the disclaimer stating it was “ripped from the headlines,” its like we are watching Washington DC insiders try their hand at political drama-dy. You just can’t write this stuff. The story is still developing. And, there is still much to learn. But, let’s hope all the big moments are over so Congress can actually do something important with these last few months of 2012. We’ll see if this shows all those holier-than-thou folks that even married people act up sometimes. Being the top guy in the world of military men doesn’t make you immune to absolute stupidity. And, being in the military can’t keep you from engaging in scandalous behavior.
For a funny take on this story, see MSNBC’s The Cycle here.