David Petreaus hit the Hill Friday, testifying before House and Senate closed-door hearings. The former CIA director called the Sept. 11 attack on Benghazi an act of terrorism by al-Quaeda militants, in contrast to what he told the committee on Sept. 14 and testimony given by Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. His extramarital affair was off the table.
U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder defended the Justice Department’s handling of the FBI investigation, including keeping the White House in the dark until after the election. Meanwhile, the CIA opened an internal investigation into Petraeus’s conduct during his 14-month tenure.
And, surprise, surprise: more dirt is emerging on financially beleaguered “socialite and honorary counsel to South Korea,” Jill Kelley, and her twin sister. The Los Angeles Times reports that after helping a New York City “energy entrepreneur” make introductions for a multibillion-dollar coal project South Korea, Kelley unsuccessfully angled for an $80-million commission. In another report, her twin sister, Natalie Khawam, is said to be unable to pay back a $300,000 loan from a former boyfriend who is a defense department lobbyist.
Meanwhile, we’re learning more about how Paula Broadwell benefitted from her high-profile proximity to the former four-star general–including a speaking slot at the Aspen Ideas Festival, an invitation to Washington’s annual OSS Society dinner, and a role as an “expert commentator” in an infomercial for machine-gun manufacturer KRISS, which shows her to be a crack shot. The company was angling for a military contract at the time.
In the “what-lessons-can-be-learned-here” category, attention is turning to Orwellian government surveillance. In a post laden with advice for would-be adulterers, Salon.com analyses how the head of the world’s largest spying organization and his lover screwed up trying to cover the tracks of their affair. And in a thoughtful post on Reuters.com , Julian Sanchez writes: “The Petraeus affair has, for a moment, exposed that invisible scaffolding – and provided a rare opportunity to revisit outdated laws and reconsider the expanded surveillance powers doled out over the past panicked decade.”
In fluffier fallout, there’s this Petraeus-scandal-inspired parody ”Real Housewives of the Pentagon” which proves again that “reality TV” pales next to “reality reality.”
Friday, November 16, 2012