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IS THE PETRAEUS SCANDAL A DISTRACTION?

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The resignation of General David Petraeus after revelations of an extramarital affair sent shockwaves through DC. One of the more immediate effects was to temproarily halt his plans to testify in front of a Congressional committee on the 11 September, 2012 attack on the consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, dead.

The discovery of the affair occurred during an FBI investigation into intimidating e-mails sent to a State Department employee from an anonymous e-mail account. The investigation eventually lead to Paula Broadwell, a West Point graduate who had become Petraeus’s biographer, who had been having an affair with the former general and CIA director.

Meanwhile, revelations about Libya were emerging on FoxNews.com and other outlets. According to one report by the Washington Examiner, Representative Peter King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, still wants Petraeus to testify regarding the attack. “I’m on the intelligence committee, Mike Rogers is the chairman, but I strongly believe that David Petraeus has to be a witness at that hearing — if not this week, then in the weeks after,” King said on MSNBC.

There are numerous questions surrounding the scandal – including whether Paula Broadwell may have gotten information about the attack on Benghazi. In a blog at ForeignPolicy.com, Blake Hounshell wrote that Broadwell “appeared to reveal sensitive, maybe even classified, information about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.”

Not only did this include claims that there were requests for help from a Delta Force unit known as the CINC in extremis force, but that several Libyan militants were being held in Benghazi. The CIA denied that it held anyone in the Benghazi annex, but it does raise questions about how Ms. Broadwell knew.

“Broadwell's remarks, which were first reported by Arutz Sheva, are very interesting in light of this week's big news, as well as the Wall Street Journal's revelation that the FBI found that Broadwell was in possession of classified documents (though she was never charged with any crime),” Hounshell wrote in that blog post.

The other big question was what President Obama knew about the investigation and when he knew it. “To have someone out there in such a sensitive position who the FBI thought perhaps could have been compromised or was under the scope of an FBI investigation who may or may not have been having an affair at the time — that, to me, had to have been brought to the president or certainly to the National Security Council,” Representative King said.

But why was it not released sooner? According to a report by Canada Free Press, it may have been protecting the Obama Administration. “What I do know is that an integral part of that firewall involved having information on Petraeus that would potentially damage his career, legacy and marriage. A sort of political blackmail, if you will. What I don’t know, but suspect, is that Petraeus was placed in the unenviable but self-inflicted position of having to choose between providing truthful testimony under oath and having his professional and personal life destroyed while systematically being impeached due to this incident, or keeping quiet before the Senate Intelligence Committee,” a source told CFP reporter Doug Hagmann.

“The resignation of David Petraeus is merely one, albeit a very high-profile one, of several coordinated moves to push any meaningful investigation into the events of Benghazi well into the future,” Hagmann wrote in his article. “Obama and other high ranking officials learned many valuable lessons from Fast & Furious.”

In short, there may now be a stonewall around Benghazi that will be even harder to break. Was the exposure of this affair part of that stonewall about the screw-up in Benghazi to keep it covered up?

Article by Harold Hutchison