Introduction: Hillary Clinton’s secret personal email system continued last week to prompt heavy news coverage but with scant scrutiny of the most sinister implications for the public. This is the second part of a three-part series examining issues that are almost entirely overlooked, except occasionally in the alternative media. The focus of today's column is in red:
- Arms Smuggling: The Obama-Clinton-Petraeus 'Iran-Contra' Scandal: Part I in the series here
- GOP Pre-Election 2012 Benghazi Plot With Petraeus? Hillary's Email, Part II
- Conflict of Interest In Clinton Foundation Funding? Clinton Emails: Part III here
Before examining those findings, first let’s summarize recent general developments that have been covered. As the New York Times reported here, Clinton devised a private email system to communicate with government and personal contacts. This apparently violated federal policy requiring officials to use government systems for work-related emails.
We next review one of the areas being overlooked by the mainstream media's treatment of the situation:
The Obama administration forced the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus Nov. 9 just after the Nov. 6, 2012 election with a cover story. A sex scandal involving Petraeus was touted to obscure the administration's discovery of of CIA involvement in an effort to embarrass the administration severely over the Benghazi tragedy in a way that could have paved the way for the victory of Obama's GOP rival Mitt Romney, shown in a file photo.
As head of the CIA, Petraeus was responsible for actions of subordinates. Also, he had taken enough suspiciously self-promoting and arguably disloyal actions himself through the years as to raise the possibility of his direct involvement in the plot. One such action was his entertaining while an overseas field commander an invitation from a Fox News journalist on behalf of GOP leaders to run against Obama in 2012. Petraeus declined the invitation according to a 2012 report by Bob Woodward in the Washington Post but the circumstances inevitably raised questions about his motivations and those of his staff regarding the Benghazi deaths in September 2012 of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
It is, of course, difficult to document such charges in a blog post. Investigative reporter Wayne Madsen wrote a 127-page book on the topic published in late 2012, L’Affaire Petraeus: The Benghazi Stand-down and the Plot to "Carterize' Obama. My book the following year Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters devotes a full chapter to the matter, "A Petraeus Betrayal?"
Today's column is for a more current purpose. We show how the intrigues involved with Hillary Clinton's suppressed and supposedly private emails could if released hold embarrassing consequences for many players in the nation's capital, not just for her and other Democrats.
Ostensibly, the White House forced the married CIA director from his job because of his affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell. Co-author of the glowing tribute All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, Broadwell was a married former student of Petraeus and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves who obtained from Petraeus classified documents.
The circumstances of the ouster showed that some within the Obama administration wanted to trash the renowned former general publicly by leaking or permitting leaks of embarrassing details about his affair to reach the news media to supplement official comments.
No reprisal has been reported for any leakers of disparaging information about Petraeus and Broadwell. She was reportedly identified because of threats she made against Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, another married woman who was revealed to have had friendships and extensive correspondence, as did Kelley's twin sister, with Petraeus, Gen. John Allen, Gen. John Abizaid, and other high-ranking officers assigned the Central Command (CENTCOM) and Cybersecurity headquarters in Tampa.
Instead of repeating conventional wisdom about the ouster, investigative reporter Wayne Madsen published a source-based column Nov. 9 Petraeus indiscretion may be linked to "October Surprise" plot. He suggested that Petraeus had been forced out because of his participation with others in the intelligence and military sectors in a series of disloyal actions against the administration helping fellow Republicans and not because of the sex scandal, which has many unsanctioned precedents at the CIA and armed forces, as elsewhere.
"October Surprise" is a general term applied to secret surprise tactics by either party just before a November presidential election. "The October Surprise" has also acquired a more specific meaning related to the 1980 contest between incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter and his Republican challenger Ronald Reagan.
The essence of that "surprise," according to at least two scholars with books including that name, was that Reagan Campaign Manager William Casey and disloyal national security staff under Carter encouraged Iranians to keep holding 52 U.S. hostages seized in late 1979 through the remaining weeks of the Carter presidency in order to make the incumbent look so ineffective that he would lose reelection.
The incoming Reagan administration then announced the hostage release within minutes of taking office. Casey, shown in a file photo, became CIA director until his death in 1987.
No official investigation has confirmed such a plot. But former Carter National Security Council staff member, Dr. Gary Sick, later Columbia University adjunct professor, wrote a book alleging it (while omitting names of suspects). Another such book was by former Reagan/Bush campaign and White House staffer Barbara Honegger.
Former Iranian President Abulhassan Banisadr and former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir are among those who have confirmed such a plot. Madsen, the reporter and former Navy intelligence officer, also has cited sources in concurring and in naming suspects in addition to Casey. These suspects include former Obama administration Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Most relevant now, however, is that Madsen drew on his contacts in 2012 to flesh out his initial allegations against Petraeus to describe an arguably traitorous plot with other officials to embarrass the Obama administration. Madsen followed up with Hollywood psy-op assisted 'October Surprise' plans against Obama. That column argued that the Hollywood film Argo played a part in the fall's momentous developments and that the White House dismissed a number of high-ranking military officers just after the election in circumstances suggesting Benghazi-related irregularities like those of Petraeus.
Madsen was virtually alone in making such claims, which he amplified in his book, L'Affaire Petraeus. Then as now, Petraeus held bipartisan stature in Washington as a military strategist and effective advocate for U.S. military interventions. In 2007, Petraeus had led the way in founding the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a neo-con/neo-lib think tank that has helped populate and inspire the Obama administration's defense and intelligence agencies.
Petraeus had held many other prestigious affiliations.
Although the media obviously had to cover as news his forced resignation and sex scandal, his backers soon resurrected his career. Henry Kravis, the billionaire financier leading the buy-out company KKR and a leader in the exclusive Bilderberg Group, among other power levers, named Petraeus as chairman of the KKR Global Initiative.
Petraeus has been an attendee at the last two Bilderberg annual meetings, which each year convene some 130 Western tycoons (including media owners and other opinion leaders), and government officials for secret meetings. The retired general, who holds a doctorate from Princeton (where he was once considered a top candidate to lead as president) also has received prestigious university appointments and has continued to lead veterans groups. His clout was implied in another way when the Justice Department this year merely accused him of misdemeanor charges for revealing classified documents to Broadwell. Critics called it a wrist-slap compared to the hard time in prison the Justice Department has forced others to serve.
With this background, it is remarkable and even astounding that one of Sidney Blumenthal's emails to Clinton is dated just after Madsen's first "October Surprise" column and provides her an "October Surprise" interpretation of the Petraeus firing that in effect vindicates Madsen's work that week.
Monica Crowley, online digital editor of the conservative Washington Times, is another longtime Washington insider in the same sense as the liberal Blumenthal, shown in a 2006 photo courtesy of Wikipedia. Crowley repeated parts of the Madsen/Blumenthal "October Surprise" claims (albeit without credit) in Was Hillary Clinton running her own rogue intel operation? The truth may be found in her private emails. Times print edition featured the column March 18 spread across the entire top half of its commentary section front page.
The important point here is that Blumenthal memo was far more similar to Madsen's analysis than what the public has continued to hear from the corporate-owned media, including prominent web-based media mistakenly regarded as "alternative." The latter are distributed via the web but demonstrably fail on many occasions to provide hard-hitting reporting on truly sensitive stories like this about the power.
Thus, it was no surprise that investigative reporter Jeff Gerth authored an in-depth treatment over the weekend regarding the Blumenthal memos, but managed to skip the implications of the one alleging a Petraeus "October Surprise." Gerth's column, published by Gawker with a coauthor Sam Biddle and in cooperation with the establishment public interest investigative reporting initiative Pro Publica, was entitled, Leaked Private Emails Reveal Ex-Clinton Aide's Secret Spy Network.
Gerth is a familiar name to historians of the Bill Clinton presidency. As a New York Times reporter in 1992, Gerth broke the first Whitewater story alleging financial misconduct by the couple in a 1970s real estate development in rural Arkansas. Gerth and the Times relentlessly pursued the story, leading to the appointment of former federal judge Kenneth Starr to become a special prosecutor. Its $70 million investigation could not make a criminal case of wrongdoing. But Starr salvaged his reputation among Clinton's enemies by transforming the probe near its end into a prosecution and impeachment of the president for denying a sexual relationship with then-former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Newspaper columnist Gene Lyons wrote a 1996 book, Fools for Scandal: How the Media Invented Whitewater and co-authored in 2000 The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton. Both books pilloried Gerth as exemplifying misguided and unapologetic investigative reporting that disregarded inconvenient facts and relied on biased and otherwise dubious sources. As a White House aide, Blumenthal was one of the Clintons' most loyal defenders against what they regarded as zealotry and partisanship in the long-running investigations of the Clintons, which created enormous legal bills also for many innocent staffers caught up in the brouhaha.
Larger lessons of varying kinds could be drawn from that history. But the one most current and clear is that the Blumenthal email suggests, rightly or wrongly, the possibility of high-level domestic intrigue involving the CIA. Even more important, this ominous threat to democracy was not regarded as newsworthy hardly anywhere except by Madsen, the Washington Times, and perhaps a few others not prominent. More privately, someone of Sidney Blumenthal's acumen thought the threat important enough to source from his political intelligence sources and apprise Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
She used Blumenthal as a private, confidential information after her husband's former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who held the same position in the Obama White House at the beginning of the first term, barred Clinton from hiring Blumenthal at the State Department, as reported by the New York Times in Emanuel Wields Power Freely, and Faces the Risks. Clinton thus had to hire Blumenthal privately using as yet unreported funding.
Meanwhile, Clinton was required to hire for her State Department staff Obama's friend Samantha Power, who had harshly insulted Clinton during the campaign. This reflects a little known reality outside of insider political circles: Even high-level officials in federal government do not necessarily have the power to hire their top staff. Instead, staff are a mixture of the officials' own selections and those recommended/imposed by the White House and other outside entities such as one of the political parties.
The situation serves as a reminder that it can be lonely at the top. Hence the adage "If you want a friend in Washington buy a dog." Or at least have your own private political intelligence operation and email system?
Related News Coverage Most Relevant To Series Part II
Duplicity and Disloyalty by Gen. David Petraeus
WMR, Hacked HRC e-mail shows that she was made aware of a Romney-Petraeus "October Surprise" the day after it was reported by WMR, Wayne Madsen, March 13, 2015. An e-mail sent by unofficial adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Sidney Blumenthal, which was revealed by the computer hacker known as "Guccifer," describes the belief by some higher-ups in the Obama administration that the resignation of Central Intelligence Agency director David Petraeus on November 8, 2012, the day after Barack Obama's re-election, was tied to a plot by Mitt Romney and Petraeus to engineer an "October Surprise" to engineer Obama's electoral defeat. As can be seen in the email, dated November 12, 2012, the idea of the Petreaus resignation being tied to an October Surprise gambit was reported by Blumenthal to Clinton the day after WMR reported: "Petraeus indiscretion may be linked to 'October Surprise' plot."
In his email to Clinton, Blumenthal concluded what WMR concluded the previous day: that the Petraeus scandal represented a failed October Surprise plot by Petraeus who was working in tandem with the Romney campaign. Blumenthal called the conspiracy against Obama a "trifecta" of classified information leaks, the Benghazi diplomatic mission attack, and the Petraeus scandal. Where Blumenthal differs from the WMR report is that he believes that Romney knew about Petraeus's extramarital affair and would have used it to show Obama's national security weakness. WMR reported that Petraeus was working hand-in-hand with the Romney campaign to create a U.S. embassy hostage situation similar to that in Tehran in 1980 which sank President Jimmy Carter's chances for re-election. This scenario was described in greater detail in the WMR's editor's book, "L'Affair Petraeus: The Benghazi Stand-Down and the Plot to 'Carterize' Obama," the first book published on the Petraeus scandal.
Washington Times, Was Hillary Clinton running her own rogue intel operation? The truth may be found in her private emails, Monica Crowley, March 18, 2015. Conservative pundit Monica Crowley, a longtime Washington insider, is her newspaper's online digital editor. We all know that the only reason you would deliberately and pre-meditatedly set up a private email address and server is to have total control over your communications — to keep people away from those communications and to retain the ability to edit and delete your content. In Hillary Clinton’s case, given her long history of concealment and duplicity, total control was the system’s purpose. What was the Clintons’ hatchet man [Sidney Blumenthal] really doing? How did he cultivate such sensitive intelligence sources, and on whose orders? Why was he apparently hip-deep in intelligence matters while his close friend was secretary of state?
- Was the real reason Mrs. Clinton created a private communications system because she planned to run her own intelligence operation via Mr. Blumenthal, away from the prying eyes of the president, his White House, the intelligence and diplomatic communities, Congress, the press and the American people?
- Did she set up this private system because she didn’t trust the Obama team to provide the intelligence that she needed or wanted?
WMR, Petraeus indiscretion may be linked to "October Surprise" plot, Wayne Madsen, Nov. 9, 2012. (Subscription required, with excerpt below used with permission). CIA director General David Petraeus, lauded by neo-cons for his marshaling of troops in contrived military campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and, in support of the "global war on terror," throughout the Arab and Muslim world as the chief of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), resigned suddenly on November 9. Petraeus claimed that he was resigning over an extra-marital affair. The Washington spin machine is claiming that President Obama first heard about Petraeus's affair and his intent to resign on the evening of November 8. There is a belief by many in the intelligence community that Petraeus's affair was already known to the White House weeks ago but that it was decided that his resignation would be tendered after the November 6 election to avoid another scandal on top of the festering Benghazi consulate attack. Moreover, the Petraeus scandal and the siege of the U.S. compound in Benghazi may be linked.
Paula Broadwell, the co-author along with The Washington Post's Vernon Loeb, of Petraeus's biography titled All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, has been under investigation by the FBI for trying to access Petraeus's e-mail, possibly while Petraeus's CIA-issued secure personal digital assistant and/or laptop were left unattended during trysts. The FBI, according to some media reports, has indicated that neither Petraeus nor Broadwell, who also served as an Army officer and is a married West Point graduate with two sons, face criminal charges. WMR has reported in the past that Loeb is a frequent target of National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance as a result of his publication of leaks from intelligence sources.Although it is too early to ascertain why the FBI was investigating Broadwell, there is some informed speculation from intelligence professionals that the Mitt Romney campaign had inside help in arranging for a Jimmy Carter-like "October Surprise" to deny Obama a second term. It was the Iran hostage situation in 1980 and a Reagan-Bush mole inside the National Security Council who tipped off the Republicans about last-minute negotiations between Carter's team and Iran to release the U.S. hostages that cost Carter re-election. The name of the mole was Robert Gates, on loan from the CIA to the White House. Gates was a loyalist of former CIA director Bush.
WMR, Hollywood psy-op assisted October Surprise plans against Obama, Wayne Madsen, Nov. 15, 2012. WMR has learned from intelligence sources that former CIA director David Petraeus knew during the summer about the plans to discredit President Obama in what failed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney called a "Jimmy Carter Strategy" to bring about an October Surprise embassy or diplomatic mission crisis that like Carter, would result in Obama's defeat at the polls. The Jimmy Carter Strategy included the release of the anti-Muslim "Innocence of Muslims" movie trailer on YouTube that was seen as a catalyst that would trigger an embassy or mission crisis in one or more Arab or Muslim countries. In Benghazi, radical Salafists in the pay of Qatar and Saudi Arabia laid siege to the U.S. Consulate but, instead of overrunning the compound and taking the ambassador and staff hostage, something went terribly wrong with the plan and Ambassador Christopher Stevens and one Foreign Service officer and two State Department contractors were killed by guerrillas affiliated with "Al Qaeda."
It was not merely the anti-Muslim trailer that was designed to create the psychological setting for an October Surprise. On the evening of September 11, when the U.S. Consulate was being overrun, Petraeus was at a private Washington, DC screening of the movie "Argo," which dramatized the CIA's rescue of six American diplomats from Tehran during the hostage crisis at the U.S. embassy. Ironically, "Argo" was co-produced by Obama fundraiser George Clooney. The movie had extraordinary technical assistance from the CIA, including the agency's Hollywood liaison office in Los Angeles. Part of the filming took place in McLean, Virginia near CIA headquarters. The film has been criticized for a number of historical inaccuracies and screenplay errors, a clue that the movie was put together haphazardly and on a rush schedule.
Justice Integrity Project, Critics Condemn Petraeus Chronology, Drone Killing, Detention Tactics, Andrew Kreig, Feb. 5, 2013. Today's column is a round-up of troubling news regarding government secrecy regarding the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus in November, as well as increased war-making, detention without charges or trial, and other police state powers by the Obama administration as it proceeds on its second term.
Washington Post, Petraeus admits giving documents to mistress, Adam Goldman and Sari Horwitz, March 3, 2015. The former CIA director will plead guilty to a misdemeanor and will likely not face prison time. The deal, if approved by a judge, will spare Petraeus a prison sentence and allow him to avoid a trial that probably would have revealed details of his relationship with his former mistress and biographer, who had been provided the highly sensitive documents. As part of the agreement, Petraeus admitted improperly retaining a number of bound notebooks that contained classified information and giving them to the biographer, Paula Broadwell, according to documents filed Tuesday in federal court in Charlotte, N.C.
ExposeFacts.org via OpEdNews, David Petraeus Gets Hand-Slap for Leaking, Two Point Enhancement for Obstruction of Justice, Marcy Wheeler, March 3, 2015. DOJ quietly announced it had reached a plea deal with former CIA Director David Petraeus for leaking Top Secret/Secure Compartmented Information materials to his mistress, Paula Broadwell (shown with her biography cover). Among the materials in the eight "Black Books" Petraeus shared with Broadwell were: "classified information regarding the identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions, quotes and deliberative discussions from high-level National Security Council meetings, and .... discussions with the President of the United States of America." Petreaus retained those Black Books after he signed his debriefing agreement upon leaving DOD, in which he attested "I give my assurance that there is no classified material in my possession, custody, or control at this time." For mishandling some of the most important secrets the nation has, Petraeus will plead guilty to a misdemeanor. He will not, however, be asked to plead guilty at all for lying to FBI investigators. For lying to the FBI -- a crime that others go to prison for for months and years -- Petraeus will just get a two point enhancement on his sentencing guidelines. The Department of Justice basically completely wiped away the crime of covering up his crime of leaking some of the country's most sensitive secrets to his mistress.
For more on the Petraeus story, see also Intercept, Dianne Feinstein, Strong Advocate Of Leak Prosecutions, Demands Immunity For David Petraeus by Glenn Greenwald; Attorney General Eric Holder to Decide Whether to Charge David Petraeus with Violating Espionage Act by Kevin Gosztola; and Prosecutors Said To Recommend Charges Against Former Gen. David Petraeus by Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo.