Joe Scarborough explains how everybody knew about Petraeus
Expressing a maximum of skepticism about the way in which the FBI's investigation into former CIA director David Petraeus was both conducted and reported, Morning Joe's host Joe Scarborough said today:
"I don't believe it! I do not believe that Eric Holder, and the Justice Department, and the FBI, and Republican congressmen, and people on the Hill, and this loose cannon down in Tampa, this FBI agent, and everybody else knew about this, and nobody inside the White House knew. Guess what, I heard about something like this coming several weeks ago. Don't tell me the White House didn't know. That is not true."Scarborough did not say how he heard about "something like this", nor what the details were of the information he was provided. Expressing doubt that the FBI's protocols for investigating cyber harassment were as lax as has been reported, Scarborough threatened the following:
"I'm gonna go through my emails, and I'm gonna get about twenty to thirty emails, that are far more abusive and threatening than the ones that this lady probably got, and I'm gonna call the FBI and I'm gonna demand that they launch an investigation. And I want everybody at home to do that."Scarborough did not say what purpose would be served in his or others doing this.
Meanwhile, John Heilemann, who was also appearing on Morning Joe, noted that in spite of apparently numerous people being aware of the Petraeus investigation, at a number of levels of government, and apparently in the media as well, nobody talked about it publicly until Thursday, when journalists began following up on rumors there was a shakeup due at the CIA. Heilemann explained:
"To me, one of the big questions, or at least a big question, you know if you step back from this and put it into context...this is all happening at the eve of an election. There's this political overlay to everything right? So among the many questions...it's kind of amazing that if Eric Canto knew something was going on, that he decided not to come forward with it...There could have been great political advantage in raising this issue. But a lot of people who knew, to the extent that people knew, everyone decided to stay quiet...Whoever knew, the cast of characters who knew, at a time when there were questions being raised about Benghazi...everybody somehow in the space of about two weeks managed to not say a word about this on the eve of an election."
The story of Petraeus' involvement with another woman, reportedly Paula Broadwell, has split into several key narratives:
1. When and exactly how did the FBI get involved in investigating the CIA director?
2. Who knew about the investigation and its implications, the most serious being that Petraeus might have been compromised in his position as CIA chief, or worse might have leaked classified information to Broadwell?
3. What did the President know and when did he know it?
All these questions blend back into a bigger issue, of the GOP attempting to create a credible case that the White House has engaged in some kind of conspiracy to cover up the facts of the Benghazi incident. Some Republicans are reacting with skepticism regarding the fact that General Petraeus, who was expected to be the main witness at Congressional hearings this week concerning intelligence prior to the Benghazi attack, would now be replaced in the hearings by the new interim CIA chief, Mike Morrell.
As a number of Republicans in the Congress have pointed out, they view Petraeus' testimony at the hearings as key. However, it is not clear now whether Petraeus will be called at all, or when that would happen. If he is called, it is reasonable to think that part of the Congressional questioning may concern the FBI's handling of its investigation into Petraeus' relationship with Broadwell.