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Truly All In

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Newscom / ZUMA Press/Newscom

The beginning of the end came for CIA Director David Petraeus when Paula Broadwell, a younger married woman with whom he was having an affair, "or someone close to her had sought access to his email," according to the Wall Street Journal's description of an FBI probe. Associates of Petraeus had received "anonymous harassing emails" that were then traced to Broadwell, ABC's Martha Raddatz reported, suggesting she may have found their names or addresses in his e-mail.

"Anonymous harassing emails." So Broadwell gains access to Petraeus's emails (not shocking if they're having an affair) and then begins anonymous harassing emails to people close to him. I'm not sure what else to call that but amazing.

Then there's this from the Daily Princetonian, the student paper at Princeton, recalling an exchange with Broadwell while reporting on whether Petraeus might take the open position of President of the University ...

For a story in The Daily Princetonian in September, Broadwell's response to interview inquiries hinted at an undefined and unclear relationship between her and Petraeus, who presumably was solely her biography subject.

After asking for and receiving advanced questions for an interview with her, Broadwell first acted a spokesman for Petraeus.

"Gen. Petraeus is going to send some thoughts which I'll pass along to you this afternoon," she said in an email.

Even once the 'Prince' clarified that it sought independent comment from Broadwell herself as an author - rather than asking her to speak for Petraeus as a spokesman, because the 'Prince' had already contacted the CIA press office - Broadwell emailed responses that suggested that she had been in touch with him.

"He is not interested in the Princeton job that I know (though I know he knows it is open)" she said in response to one question.

"When he responds to your below email," Broadwell said, referring to the email sent to the CIA press office, "I'll share what I can."

I believe we all know it's folly to apply too tight a template of rationality to affairs of the heart. People lose themselves. But given the prominence of the individuals, their visibility and the stakes involved, this sounds like very high risk play. And quite a bit of either one or two people truly losing themselves.