A television performer named Krya Phillips is the latest addition to the cast of the tragic-comic farce playing out around Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned abruptly last week as head of the CIA.
Phillips, of Headline News Network, disclosed that she had a discussion with Petraeus recently about the episodes that have titillated Washington and the media. "I've had a very good professional relationship with General Petraeus," she said. "I've kept in touch with him ... we've always had a great measure of respect for each other. Needless to say, I'm shocked by his behavior.
"We didn't even talk about Benghazi at the beginning," she said. "It was more, 'oh my God, I'm in shock, I'm sick about this, what the hell happened.'" She said Petraeus told her that he had made a huge error, that he had not passed on classified information, and that his resignation had nothing to do with the attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Drawing on my own experience as a journalist in Washington, dealing with the city's spooks (as we always referred conversationally to people who worked for the intelligence-gathering agencies), I infer the following from Phillips's remarks:
Her relationship with Petraeus was cozier than "professional," classified information did seep from him to a paramour, and his resignation was all about the Benghazi affair, in which an American ambassador and two CIA operatives were killed.
I infer also that Petraeus was the direct source of bad information --possibly intentionally bad information -- fed to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and the White House regarding Benghazi.
We are told that Petraeus himself will be called to testify as our brilliant representatives in Congress empanel themselves to "get to the bottom" of all this. Maybe the truth will out, but don't bet the house on it.
Republicans will go haywire over the sex details, as they did with Monica Lewinsky and William Jefferson Clinton. The saliva of anticipation of erotic detail is running deep in every hallway in the Capitol.
Democrats will have to be careful about whose ox they gore. Petraeus is, as more than one academic has noted, America's most political general since MacArthur. He has meddled deeply in electoral politics and, indeed, built his entire career on political skills rather than military ones.
Despite what his worshipful media cult writes and broadcasts, he is far from a military genius. He wears a chestful of medals and ribbons not one of which was earned in combat. He is vain, arrogant and manipulative. But he is the darling of the military-industrial complex and President Obama loves his drone warfare concept.
A strong case can be made, I suspect, that Petraeus and Obama and former President Bush and many other most senior government officials of the last 12 years committed what under international law are war crimes.
Angry as Obama might be that Petraeus's leaks and misinformation played into the hands of the Romney campaign late in the recent electioneering, he can't afford to have too deep a probe into Petraeus, the CIA and the FBI.
Where there are spooks, there will be blood and dirt. The more ambitious, political and powerful the spook, the greater the amount of blood and dirt. You can bet the house on that.