Updated: Petraeus, Rove, And Paula Broadwell: I Smell A Rat

With @paulabroadwell at the NCSL Leaders Forum this weekend in Washington. twitter.com/KarlRove/statu… — Karl Rove (@KarlRove) June 11, 2012 Maybe that tweet from June is nothing. Only, there's this tweet from yesterday,

Maybe that tweet from June is nothing. Only, there's this tweet from yesterday, too.

Yeah, I'm sure that's nothing, too. Vague enough to be suggestive, but too vague to actually confirm anything like what Paula Broadwell and Karl Rove might have been talking about before that cute little picture of him was posted.

And then there's this little nugget from The Daily Beast:

“Now I don’t know if a lot of you heard this,” she replied, “but the CIA annex had actually—had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. So that’s still being vetted.”

(It’s possible Broadwell was confusing details broadcast ealier that day by Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffen, who’d reported that three of the Libyan attackers were briefly held at the annex—not the consulate—before being turned over to a local militia.)

What the heck was that about? Here's the video of that:

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And then there's this:

As her answer continued, Broadwell seemed to speak on behalf of Petraeus: “The challenging thing for General Petraeus is that in his new position he is not allowed to communicate with the press. So he’s known all of this, they had correspondence with the CIA station chief in Libya. Within 24 hours they kind of knew what was happening.”

Broadwell, herself a former military intelligence officer, began her discussion of the attack by referencing an exclusive Fox News report that had run that day. But while dramatic details of that story were later fiercely disputed by government officials, she relayed only parts of that story—like the attempt to send backup from a special-operations force—that were finally confirmed.

The Fox News story referenced there is the story that spawned the "Obama lied; people died" meme they tried to smear President Obama with during the election. Their report claimed that despite requests by the CIA for backup, they were denied. That sent Fox News talkers into a tizzy about how terrible this administration was and how the blood of our diplomats was on their head.

Who else pimped that story all over Fox News, do you think? None other than Karl Rove.

ROVE: Yeah, you don't want to send people into harm's way without knowing what's on the ground. But you can at least begin to move assets to the fight -- to the conflict. You could have a C-130 gunship orbiting off of -- off of Benghazi, waiting for clarity. You can put a QRF, a quick rapid force into position. You could have them airborne. You can have them out there. The president says he ordered support to be given and, yet, support wasn't given.

Except as we know, support was given.

And then there is the matter of the FBI investigation itself, allegedly sparked by a complaint made by Jill Kelley, who is a State Department liason to JSOC. Kelley, who is reported to be close to the general and his wife, received what she believed to be "harassing emails" from Broadwell and reported them to the FBI, who opened an investigation.

There is one final unrelated thing: Eric Cantor was tipped off two weeks ago by a "whistleblower" about the investigation and the possibility that Broadwell had access to national security information she should not have had. My calendar says two weeks ago would have been the very same weekend that Karl Rove was on Fox and Broadwell was giving speeches where she appeared to be speaking for Petraeus, or was at least privy to information about Benghazi that fed into the Fox News narrative they so desperately tried to build.

Politico:

But the revelation of Cantor’s role in the scandal - and the emergence of an FBI whistle-blower - raises dramatic new questions about how the bureau conducted what was clearly a hugely sensitive problem, both in terms of the FBI’s relationship with the CIA and what it could mean for the highly esteemed Petraeus.
It also raises the stakes for the political fallout surrounding the scandal. Top CIA officials have been asked to brief members of the House Intelligence Committee next week on what happened and how the case unfolded.
“I was contacted by an F.B.I. employee concerned that sensitive, classified information may have been compromised and made certain [FBI] Director Mueller was aware of these serious allegations and the potential risk to our national security,” Cantor said in a statement.

We have these unrelated things. Let's put them in a timeline.

  • June 11, 2012 - Broadwell pictured with Rove, who tweets about it in June.
  • June-July, 2012 - Affair ends, according to Chicago Tribune report (Added)
  • June-August, 2012 - FBI receives complaint about "harassing emails" sent by Broadwell to Jill Kelley
  • September 11, 2012 - Benghazi consulate attacked, killing Ambassador Stevens and 3 others
  • September 12, 2012 - Romney campaign issues immediate statement slamming Obama administration for inadequate response to "terrorist attack"
  • October 26, 2012 - Fox News "Exclusive" claims CIA requested and was refused reinforcements.
  • October 26, 2012 - Broadwell pimps the Fox News version of events at a University of Denver symposium
  • October 28, 2012 - Rove hammers and expands on it in an interview on Fox News
  • Approximately October 28-31, 2012 - FBI confronts Petraeus and interviews him about emails, determines no breaches of national security have taken place.
  • Added: Approximately October 28-31, 2012 - Romney "allies" offer a "source" to Bob Woodward regarding Benghazi attacks
  • October 31, 2012 - Cantor Chief of Staff contacted by Rep. Dave Reichert about FBI 'whistleblower'. Cantor says he contacted the FBI immediately.
  • November 6, 2012 - Barack Obama wins re-election
  • November 6, 2012 - James Clapper (Director of National Intelligence) informed of FBI investigation
  • November 8, 2012 - Petraeus submits resignation
  • November 9, 2012 - Resignation accepted

I'm smelling a Rove rat. Are you? Why the silence from Cantor? Clearly Reichert tipped Cantor off in the hopes of using this information in some way. The Petraeus/Rove relationship is real and long-standing. Is it possible that Paula was passing Rove information to use against President Obama in his re-election bid?

There's an ongoing FBI investigation sparked by a report of harassing emails to an official in a very sensitive position. At the end of October, a Republican Congressman (also former military) is contacted by a whistleblower who expresses concerns about national security leaks. That Congressman (Reichert) notifies Cantor's chief of staff (not Cantor), who then contacts Mueller about it.

Then, silence. Nothing happens until the day after the election. If I had to guess, I'd say there was some plot afoot to leak national security tidbits in order to embarrass the president and also the FBI. Because you know, the FBI is part of Eric Holder's responsibilities, and Eric Holder could possibly be the most hated government official on the planet next to Barack Obama in right-wing land.

How does the absolute belief that Mitt Romney would be elected play into the whole thing? Why the silence until after the election, when suddenly the story blows out three days after the president is re-elected? How might it have played differently if Mitt Romney had been elected? Was John Boehner ever notified? What about the Senate Intelligence Committee? Were they notified? If not, why not?

Oh look, the first inklings this will be blown into a Very Big Deal are right here in the Washington Post article about the FBI investigation:

Still, the timing of Petraeus’s departure, and the apparent decision by the FBI to withhold information about its probe, is already coming under question and criticism from Capitol Hill.

Questions, questions, questions. But of course, it could all just be one gigantic coincidence, too.

Bonus: The New Yorker's Jane Mayer has questions too.

Update: Added information about the effort to reach out to Bob Woodward by Romney allies regarding the Benghazi attacks. Woodward appeared on Hannity's show November 7th to talk about it, and said he was unimpressed with the quality of the information.

Update 2: According to the Chicago Tribune, a close friend of Gen. Petraeus says the affair ended four months ago, which would be at about the same time the emails were sent from his Gmail account to Kelley.

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