At the height of several investigations into the events of Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya, Gen. David Petraeus, the Director of Central Intelligence, announced he tendered his resignation to President Barack Obama on Friday.
The former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan claimed the reason for his quitting is a secret extra-marital affair, but he didn’t name the person with whom he shared an illicit relationship. However, some observers are suspicious of the timing of his resignation.
“Yesterday afternoon, I went to the White House and asked the President to be allowed, for personal reasons, to resign from my position as D/CIA. After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. This afternoon, the President graciously accepted my resignation,” Petraeus said in a prepared statement.
While the mainstream news media are heaping praise on a distinguished military career, Petraeus headed an intelligence agency that’s become overly-politicized and some say inadequate in providing actionable intelligence, according to stakeholders. One example is the failure of the CIA to gather and analyze intelligence regarding the so-called Arab Spring especially in Egypt.
Following hearings on counterterrorism held by the House of Representatives’s Homeland Security Committee, lawmakers feared budget cuts would only add to the CIA’s internal problems. Petraeus also feared the so-called “fiscal cliff.”
“The intelligence community and the Congressional Intelligence Oversight Committees have been working together during the past year, in recognition of the current challenging fiscal environment, to find efficiencies in the United States intelligence community’s annual budget. Gen. Petraeus was a valuable asset to our probe,” according to U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI).
Both Republican and Democrat House members said they wanted to avert President Barack Obama’s so-called “sequestration plan” from adversely impacting on intelligence gathering and analysis.
“Our intelligence agencies and the important work they do is our first line of defense against the many threats around the world to our national security. Sequestration would be dangerous and irresponsible for many reasons, not the least of which is the threat to those vital intelligence capabilities, and Congress must act to avoid it,” warned Rogers.
While there is talk of reducing the budgets of intelligence agencies, the Director of Central Intelligence, David Petraeus believes such a move would be unwise with so many potential dangers facing the nation.
“Even with its core leadership having sustained significant losses, al-Qaeda and its affiliates still pose a very real threat that will require our energy, focus, creativity, and dedication. Al-Qaeda’s operatives remain committed to attacks against US citizens at home and overseas, both to demonstrate strength in the wake of Bin Ladin’s death and to continue pursuit of one of al-Qaeda’s principal goals — forcing the United States and a number of our allies to retreat from the world stage,” Petraeus recently told members of Congress.
“Al-Qaeda’s leaders continue to believe this would clear the way for overthrowing governments in the Islamic world and for the destruction of Israel,” said the former Army general.