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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Frank Bruni, "The Siren and the Spook": I Could Tell You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You

To the best of my knowledge, there was not a single New York Times op-ed columnist willing to opine upon the events in Benghazi prior to the election. Frank Bruni is the first Times columnist willing to discuss the Petraeus scandal.

In a provocative op-ed entitled "The Siren and the Spook" (, Bruni first observes why men who have soared into the stratosphere are so often tempted to engage in extramarital affairs:

"Sure, the spotlight these men have attracted and the altitude they’ve reached should, theoretically, give them greater pause. But they’ve either become accustomed to or outright sought a kind of adulation in the public arena that probably isn’t mirrored in their marriages. A spouse is unlikely to provide it. A spouse knows you too well for that, and gives you something deeper, truer and so much less electric."

Bruni then makes the point that Paula Broadwell is taking too much of the blame for Petraeus's downfall:

"And yet it’s the women in these situations who are often subjected to a more vigorous public shaming — and assigned greater responsibility."

My thoughts? First, I have never, ever, had anything to do with information gathering. Hey, stop snickering. Three rules of thumb: If someone says they are a spy, they're not. However, if someone says they are not a spy, that doesn't mean that they are.

I repeat, I have never, ever, had anything to do with information gathering.

Oh, I almost forgot, that third rule of thumb: Spies are professional liars.

Having finished with the caveats, now back to Bruni's op-ed. In my current line of business, I don't assign blame. I find solutions.

In the instance of Petraeus, my belief, from the little that I know, is that there was no solution. Petraeus screwed up and needed to resign. You see, when you enter the world of intelligence, you will inevitably be confronted with a host of temptations, including sex and money. However, before taking the vows, you must be resigned to a life of chastity (or at least fidelity to your wife or husband), poverty and obedience, otherwise, catastrophe is awaiting you. Passionate lounging with a bevy of beautiful sirens occurs only in James Bond movies.

In politics, you can get away with screwing around. In fact, it has almost become the norm. Not so in intelligence.

The full story involving Petraeus and Broadwell? Bruni doesn't know it, and it has yet to be revealed. With a little luck, it will never be revealed. However, Broadwell should never have had access to Petraeus's e-mails.

Meanwhile, this business is continuing to "evolve." As just reported by Reuters (

"The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, is under investigation for alleged inappropriate communication with a woman at the center of the scandal involving former CIA Director David Petraeus, a senior U.S. defense official said on Tuesday.

. . . .

The U.S. official said the FBI uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of communications - mostly emails and spanning from 2010 to 2012 - between Allen and Jill Kelley, who has been identified as a long-time friend of the Petraeus family and a Tampa, Florida, volunteer social liaison with military families at MacDill Air Force Base."

Demoralizing and depressing. I have only compassion for these men and women, who are only human, and particularly for their hurting families.

C'est tout.


  1. Ha, this is fun. I knew why I didn't watch Bond, James Bond - I was waiting for something better. Spies, ladies (including foreign born), uniforms, affairs, emails (many thousands of them) .... Wow. I need more pop corn.

  2. I'm eating my pop corn and now reading the following:
    I find this funny. I don't know anything about the website and I know that the whole story is a distraction, but still ... it is amusing.
    Hey, it's free entertainment.

  3. Politicians, including Presidents, are elected officals. The careeer-long scrutiny and training of someone who managed to climb the ranks to four star general should be daunting when compared to someone like a president, who needs nothing more than a few basic credentials outside of puplic opinion to attain their position. You would think the strenght of will would be much greater for a general, which is why this whole episode is particularly demoralizing.