Petraeus Scandal Widens

The sex scandal that caused CIA Director David Petraeus to resign Nov. 9 has continued to widen in the time since -- despite best efforts by his allies to limit the damage to him and the military causes they support. Petraeus testified Nov. 16 before a closed session of the House and Senate intelligence committees on the massacre of four Americans Sept. 11 in Libya.

David and Holly PetraeusMeanwhile, the scandal's new dimensions further tarnished the reputations of Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell, a fellow West Point grad.

Also, the scandal has expanded to an investigation of Gen. John Allen, the current U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, as well as to a Florida socialite, Jill Kelley, a friend of both Allen and Petraeus. Petraeus was Allen's predecessor as U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan before Petraeus became CIA director. Petraeus, his wife, Holly, and Vice President Joe Biden are shown at right during the confirmation ceremony.

The caustic tone of some coverage is conveyed by a Nov. 16 column by investigative reporter and author Wayne Madsen, a former Naval Intelligence officer and National Security Agency analyst who has published thousands of words about the scandal the past week on his subscription-only site, the Wayne Madsen Report. His Nov. 16 column began:

The love pentagon between Generals David Petraeus and John Allen, Army Reserve Lt. Col., biographer, and faux journalist Paula Broadwell, and Lebanese-American twins Jill Kelley and Natalie Khawam, has all the makings of a honeypot operation involving one or more foreign intelligence agencies. That is the conclusion of senior Pentagon and CIA officials who insisted on anonymity.

Ronald Kessler, Washington bureau chief of Newsmax, says, "there are several cover-ups going on." Among them, he said, was the claim by the White House that it did not know details of the FBI investigation until after the election.

Other commentators, to be sure, take a far more benign view of these developments than Kessler, a conservative, and Madsen, a progressive.

More generally, a rare wave of serious disciplinary actions has hit at least a half dozen others in the military, security, and related contracting sectors. This has led to resignations and demotions. Whether involving possession and disclosure of national security documents or other infractions, the investigations merit close public scrutiny to ensure that any findings and sanctions for VIPs and their minions are congruent with the mind-boggling penalties on rank-and-file. For example, former CIA officer John Kiriakou, an author and ABC-TV analyst, last month accepted a plea deal for a 30-month prison term. The defendant accepted the deal to avoid potential life in prison for helping news reporting that resulted in disclosure of the identity of a CIA employee. 

Most explosive of all, commentators on both the left and right, including Madsen, have alleged that the Petraeus scandal suggests colossal but as yet-unproven political intrigues to affect the 2012 presidential elections in potentially diabolical ways.

A Republican version of such a conspiracy is that Obama administration officials falsely portrayed their Mideast policies as more successful than merited. In this line of political attack, Republicans allege that the Obama White House and State Department deceived the public about the terrorist-basis for the fatal attack on U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stephens and three security personnel at the consulate in Benghazi. Another such damage-control step may have been, according to some insinuations, efforts by CIA and FBI personnel to withhold advisories to Congress and the news media about the Petraeus probe until after the Nov. 6 election. Most such insinuations from conservatives allege misconduct by Democrats. They tend to protect the reputations of the CIA and Petraeus, who has long been admired by Republicans and neo-conservatives following his leadership of United States forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On the left, several commentators such as Madsen. Webster Tarpley, and Michael Collins have suggested that recriminations over Benghazi -- and perhaps the attack itself -- were part of a plan by a few Republican-oriented operatives to hurt Obama in the same manner that President Jimmy Carter's 1980 reelection campaign was wounded by the Iranian hostage crisis and John Kerry was smeared in 2004 by the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacking his military record. A congressional hearing inadvertently disclosed that the CIA was heavily responsible for security for the murdered men.

The vast bulk of the details are secret, including the hearing on Nov. 16, and may never be disclosed. Therefore, the public is left with commentary and speculation, which cannot all be correct since some of it is contradictory. With that caveat, a range of discussion is provided below.

Contact the author Andrew Kreig or comment
 

 

 

Updates

Huffington Post, David Petraeus To Head Private Equity Firm KKR's New Global Institute, Tom Murphy, May 30, 2013. Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus will take a new job with investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. as he attempts to rebuild his reputation after an extramarital affair with a biographer triggered his resignation as CIA director last fall. Petraeus, 60, will serve as chairman of the New York firm's newly created KKR Global Institute. He was CIA director from September 2011 until last November. Before that, Petraeus served more than 37 years in the U.S. Army, where he rose to the rank of four-star general. Petraeus served as commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan and also commanded forces in Iraq in 2007 and 2008, when violence in that country dropped following a surge in military forces.

WhoWhatWhy, Exclusive -– Petraeus: the Plot Thickens, Douglas Lucas and Russ Baker, Feb 5, 2013. Was the ambitious General David Petraeus targeted for take-down by competing interests in the US military/intelligence hierarchy—years before his abrupt downfall last year in an adultery scandal? Previously unreported documents analyzed by WhoWhatWhy suggest as much. They provide new insight into the scandalous extramarital romance that led to Petraeus’s resignation as CIA director in November after several years of rapid rise—going from a little-known general to a prospective presidential candidate in a stunningly brief time frame. Among other revelations the documents show that: 1) Petraeus was suspected of having an extramarital affair nearly two years earlier than previously known; 2) Petraeus’s affair was known to foreign interests with a stake in a raging policy and turf battle in which Petraeus was an active party; and 3) Those providing the “official” narrative of the affair—and an analysis of why it led to the unprecedented removal of America’s top spymaster— have been less than candid with the American people.

Related News Coverage

Nov. 21

New York Times, Petraeus, Suddenly With Plenty of Free Time, Ponders His Next Move, Elisabeth Bumiller, Nov. 21, 2012. Cue the Superlawyers and the Spinmasters Friends say a priority is making amends with his wife, formerly Holly Knowlton, shown with him at West Point in 1974. A motorcade took him home Friday after testimony at Congress.He is seeking forgiveness from his furious wife, missing his old job as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, fighting off cabin fever — and plotting a comeback. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/22/us/petraeus-lies-low-and-ponders-his-next-move.html

Daily Beast, David Petraeus’s Secret Trip to Libya After the Benghazi Attack, Eli Lake, Nov. 13, 2012. Congress wants to know why David Petraeus took a classified trip to the country where U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered—and what the general found out while he was there.

New Yorker, The General’s Dilemma, David Petraeus, the pressures of politics, and the road out of Iraq, Steve Coll, Sept. 8, 2008.

Nov. 16

Salon, Paula Broadwell’s big mistake, Andrew Leonard, Nov. 16, 2012. She thought she was covering her tracks. But in the age of frictionless surveillance, Big Brother can't be stopped.

Associated Press / Huffington Post, David Petraeus Testifying About Benghazi Attacks On Capitol Hill, Larry Margasack, Nov. 16, 2012. Former CIA Director David Petraeus arrived early Friday for closed hearings on Capitol Hill as lawmakers seek details from the retired general about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. Petraeus was not expected to testify about his affair with biographer Paula Broadwell or the harassing emails she sent a Florida woman that led to the FBI investigation that uncovered the affair. The House Intelligence Committee, which was hearing from Petraeus first, was meeting in a secure room several floors below the main area of the Capitol Visitors Center where tourists gather when they are visiting Congress. Petraeus, in his first congressional testimony since his resignation last Friday, was to appear later Friday before the Senate committee. Republicans and some Democrats have demanded an explanation of why the Obama administration initially described the attack at Benghazi as a protest gone awry, leading to the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others, including two Navy SEALS.

Nov. 15

Huffington Post, Natalie Khawam Got Hefty Loan From Defense Department Lobbyist, Christina Wilkie and Jason Cherkis, Nov. 15, 2012. Jill Kelley, a central figure in the sex scandal involving former CIA Director David Petraeus, tried to parlay her friendship with the general into a huge commission for helping facilitate a coal project in South Korea, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday. Negotiations with Kelley ended after she demanded an $80 million fee for leveraging her connections, the paper said. That deal may have gone bust. But Kelley's identical twin sister, Natalie Khawam, profited from her own lobbying connection. Bankruptcy records show that Gerald "Jerry" Harrington, a Rhode Island lobbyist and Democratic fundraiser, loaned Khawam $300,000 that she was unable to pay back.

Washington Post, Paula Broadwell’s drive and resilience hit obstacles, Greg Jaffe and Anne Gearan, Nov. 15, 2012. Paula Broadwell was a rising star who seemed destined for a sparkling career in foreign policy. A West Point graduate who excelled in triathlons, she was pursuing a doctorate at Harvard University and had found a mentor in Gen. David H. Petraeus, an iconic U.S. military leader. But in 2007, Broadwell was asked to leave the doctoral program at Harvard, where she had met Petraeus a year earlier, because her coursework did not meet the university’s demanding standards, according to people familiar with what happened there. What Broadwell did next was a signature feature of her resilience and drive — and what detractors say is her tendency to overstate her credentials.

Washington Post, Pentagon reviewing legal, ethical conduct of senior officers, Craig Whitlock and Ernesto Londoño, Nov 15, 2012. The Pentagon has launched a sweeping review into misconduct by senior officers, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced Thursday, a rare undertaking at the nation’s largest bureaucracy, beset by recent high-profile scandals involving the brass. Defense officials said the probe was conceived before two of the nation’s most-respected generals were ensnared in a bizarre FBI investigation that exposed the extramarital affair of former CIA chief David H. Petraeus, a retired four-star Army general, and triggered an investigation into the propriety of e-mail exchanges between a Tampa socialite and Marine Gen. John R. Allen, the top commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

BBC, Petraeus scandal: Broadwell and Kelley's access revoked, Staff report, Nov. 15, 2012. The US military has revoked access for two women at the heart of the scandal that led to Friday's resignation of Gen David Petraeus as CIA director. Security clearance has been suspended for his ex-mistress, Paula Broadwell. And Jill Kelley's pass at the Florida air force base where she organized social events has been frozen. An FBI inquiry into Mrs Kelley's complaints of email harassment revealed that Mrs Broadwell and Gen Petraeus had been having an affair. Mrs Broadwell, a 40-year-old married mother of two, had apparently sent the anonymous emails to Mrs Kelley warning her to stay away from Gen Petraeus.

IPS News, Broadwell Defended Petraeus’ Village Destruction Policy, Gareth Porter, Nov. 15, 2012. Paula Broadwell, whose affair with Gen. David Petraeus brought his career to a sudden end last week, had sought to help defend his decision in 2010 to allow village destruction in Afghanistan that not only violated his own previous guidance but the international laws of war.

OpEdNews, What Did Petraeus Know and When Did He Know It? Michael Collins, left, Nov. 15, 2012. The bitterness of the neocons knows no limit.  They're still having tantrums after being denied the unchallenged ability to pillage and plunder at will (and at our expense).  Never mind that the public doesn't want to hear it.  The Congressional Republicans are jumping up and down over their big question:  When did President Obama know about the affair between General Petraeus and Mrs. Broadwell? Talk about a misguided salvage operation.  Their inquiries will spark some questions that they won't want asked.

Associated Press, Petraeus Investigation: CIA Looking Into Conduct Of Ex-Chief After Affair, Kimberly Dozier, Nov. 15, 2012. The CIA is opening an "exploratory" investigation into the general conduct of ex-CIA director David Petraeus, who resigned last week after acknowledging an affair. CIA spokesman Preston Golson says the investigation by the CIA's inspector general "doesn't presuppose any particular outcome." Lawmakers questioned top CIA and FBI officials about the affair Thursday, during hearings originally scheduled to investigate the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Petraeus biographer and girlfriend Paula Broadwell was found to have classified information in her possession, apparently from her time researching Petraeus' career.

Nov. 14

Daily Beast, Betraeus! Jill Kelley’s Campaign to Befriend Petraeus, Allen, and Other Top Brass, Michael Daly, Nov. 14, 2012. The second woman in the Petraeus scandal is a canny socialite who doggedly cultivated the CIA director and Gen. John Allen, got them to write letters backing her sister in a custody case—and even talked her way into jumping with an elite parachute unit. There is still no telling how many fates were about to turn when an FBI agent handed 37-year-old Jill Kelley his card after speaking at one of the “civilian academies” the bureau runs as part of its public-relations effort. Kelley later dialed the number on the card to tell the agent she had been receiving a series of unnerving emails. The chain of events that followed would see the agent shamed for supposedly sending Kelley a shirtless picture of himself, although according to one knowledgeable law-enforcement source, it actually was a photo of himself with what appears to be a prominent politician and some other guys at a casual outing where they had their shirts undone.


Wisconsin State Journal, In the Spirit: Group crows over Gen. Petraeus's 'spiritual' downfall, Doug Erickson, Nov. 14, 2012. Some readers may remember the book-signing appearance earlier this year in Madison by Michael Weinstein, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Military Religious Freedom Foundation. I wrote about it here. His organization is making news again with its somewhat gleeful, kick-him-while-he’s-down treatment of CIA head David Petraeus, he of the snowballing adultery scandal.In this guest column on Huffington Post, Chris Rodda, the foundation’s senior research director, finds a wee bit of hypocrisy in Petraeus’s personal actions given his enthusiastic support of the military’s “spiritual fitness” campaign. As Rodda writes: “What’s one of the big goals of all this ‘spiritual fitness’ stuff? Strong marriages, of course! And who was a big proponent of this ‘spiritual fitness’ stuff? Yeah, you got it — Gen. David Petraeus.” Rodda said the foundation was alarmed by Petraeus in 2008 when he endorsed a book by an Army chaplain that asserted that non-religious service members had no defense against sin and could therefore cause the failure of their units.

Huffington Post, Lackland Air Force Base Sex Scandal Report Cites 'Abuse Of Power' Amid Petraeus, Allen Probe, Molly O'Toole, Nov. 14, 2012. A U.S. military shaken by the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus and the investigation of its top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, announced Wednesday that one of the largest sex scandals in its history has widened, enveloping at least eight commanders and nearly 50 possible victims. The Air Force released its report on the scandal at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, where members of the Air Force go through basic training. Investigations of at least 25 military training instructors have led to charges against 11, and have resulted in five convictions, from rape to inappropriate relationships with recruits. Two commanding officers have been removed, and Air Force Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., commander of Air Education and Training Command, said at a press conference Wednesday that six more have received "disciplinary action."

Press TV, A history of incompetent CIA directors, Wayne Madsen, Press TV, Nov. 14, 2012.  George Tenet, a congressional staffer without any prior intelligence experience, succeeded Deutch. It was Tenet who concocted intelligence that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, telling President Bush on December 12, 2002, that the CIA had a “slam dunk” case against Iraq.”

Nov. 13

Daily Beast, David Petraeus’s Secret Trip to Libya After the Benghazi Attack, Eli Lake, Nov. 13, 2012. Congress wants to know why David Petraeus took a classified trip to the country where U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered—and what the general found out while he was there.

Nov. 12

Washington Post, FBI probe widens to second general, Craig Whitlock, Nov. 13, 2012. Scandal probe ensnares commander of U.S., NATO troops in Afghanistan. The FBI probe into the sex scandal that led to the resignation of CIA director David Petraeus has expanded to ensnare Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced early Tuesday. The FBI probe into the sex scandal that prompted CIA Director David Petraeus to resign has expanded to ensnare Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced early Tuesday. According to a senior U.S. defense official, the FBI has uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 documents — most of them e-mails — of “potentially inappropriate” communications between Allen and Jill Kelley, a 37-year-old Tampa woman whose close relationship with Petraeus ultimately led to his downfall.

Wayne Madsen, A history of incompetent CIA directors, Press TV, Nov. 14, 2012. George Tenet, a congressional staffer without any prior intelligence experience, succeeded Deutch. It was Tenet who concocted intelligence that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, telling President Bush on December 12, 2002, that the CIA had a “slam dunk” case against Iraq.” The scandal that saw CIA director and former top US general in Iraq and Afghanistan, David Petraeus, resign in disgrace over an extramarital affair is another in a string of scandals that have resulted in America’s top spies leaving the CIA in disgrace.

Wayne Madsen Report, Sex, Lies, and Audiotapes -- The right-wing plot against Obama, Wayne Madsen, Nov. 12, 2012 (Subscription required). As we now know, a perhaps somewhat unwitting Petraeus; several Republicans, including failed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Republican Party Svengali Karl Rove, Romney adviser Dan Senor; and the Binyamin Netanyahu government in Israel were involved behind the scenes to discredit and ensure the electoral downfall of President Barack Obama.

Sari Horwitz, Kimberly Kindy and Scott Wilson, Petraeus didn’t plan to resign from CIA, Washington Post, Nov. 12, 2012. FBI agents searched the home of the woman at the center of the scandal involving former CIA director David H. Petraeus on Monday evening, carrying away boxes and bags of material and taking photographs inside her home in Charlotte. A senior law enforcement official said the agents were searching for any classified or sensitive documents that may have been in the possession of Paula Broadwell, a former military officer and Petraeus biographer whose extramarital affair with him led to his resignation Friday.

Washington Post, Petraeus, snagged by online data trail, lived much of his life on e-mail, Max Fisher, Nov. 12, 2012. One evening in late 2011, about a year before CIA Director David Petraeus would resign over an affair that came to light after an FBI investigation into his paramour’s e-mail traced back to him, Petraeus held an off-the-record gathering for reporters at the agency’s offices. He had just recently assumed the directorship and the meeting was an opportunity for journalists to get to know him in his new role. After a dinner, Petraeus walked everyone to his secure office on the seventh floor. There, according to a reporter who was present, the almost-60-year-old retired four-star general proudly announced that he was the first CIA director to install an open Internet connection in his office.

Washington Post, Here’s the e-mail trick Petraeus and Broadwell used to communicate, Max Fisher, Nov.12, 2012. CIA Director David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, a former military intelligence officer and his biographer, adopted a well-worn online trick, in an apparent attempt to keep their communications secret. They wrote their “intimate messages” as draft e-mails in a shared Gmail account, according to the AP, allowing them to see one anothers’ messages while leaving a much fainter data trail. When messages are sent and received, both accounts record the transmission as well as such metadata as the IP addresses on either end, something the two seemed to be seeking to avoid.    

Wired, Mistress Revealed CIA Ops as Petraeus’ Mouthpiece, Noah Shachtman and Spencer Ackerman, Nov. 12, 2012. The mistress of former CIA Director David Petraeus publicly discussed sensitive and previously unknown details about the assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. In an Oct. 26 alumni symposium at the University of Denver, Paula Broadwell said that the CIA annex at the Benghazi consulate came under assault on Sept. 11 because it had earlier “taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. It’s still being vetted.” (That information was not part of the CIA’s timeline of the Benghazi assault, and Eli Lake of the Daily Beast reports that the CIA has denied any such detention.) “I don’t know if a lot of you have heard this,” Broadwell prefaced her remarks by saying.

OpEd News, Good Riddance Petraeus, Ray McGovern, Nov. 10, 2012. As commander in Afghanistan, Petraeus was able to elbow the substantive intelligence analysts in Washington off to the sidelines. As for winning hearts and minds, it was Petraeus who shocked Afghan President Hamid Karzai's aides by claiming that Afghan parents might have burned their own children in order to blame the casualties on U.S. military operations. And the same Petraeus eagerly increased the incredibly myopic drone strikes in Pakistan, killing thousands of civilian "militants" and creating thousands more to contend with in the "long war" now alienating a nuclear-armed country of 185 million people. If, by now, you get the idea that I think David Petraeus is a charlatan (and I am not referring to sexual escapades), you would be correct.

Consortium News, Behind Petraeus’s Resignation, Robert Parry, Nov. 10, 2012. Exclusive: The resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus over an extramarital affair marks a stunning reversal for the longtime media darling. But some in President Obama’s inner circle are not displeased the neocon-friendly ex-general is gone, reports Robert Parry.  The messy departure of CIA Director David Petraeus over an extramarital affair removes the last high-ranking neoconservative holdover from George W. Bush’s administration and gives the reelected President Barack Obama more maneuvering room to negotiate a settlement over Iran’s nuclear program.

NBC-TV News / South Florida 6 / OpEdNews, CIA Director Petraeus Resigns, Cites Extramarital Affair, Daniel Macht and Emily Feldman, Nov. 9, 2012. Central Intelligence Agency Director David Petraeus has resigned, citing "extremely poor judgment" for having an extramarital affair, NBC News reported. "Yesterday afternoon, I went to the White House and asked the President to be allowed, for personal reasons, to resign from my position," Petraeus said in a letter to CIA colleagues. "After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours." Petraeus continued in his letter, "This afternoon, the President graciously accepted my resignation." Mike Morrell, the deputy CIA director and a long time CIA officer, will likely be offered the job as acting director, multiple sources told NBC News.

Fox News, Ron Kessler on Petraeus Resignation: There Are Several Cover-ups Going On (Video), Nov. 9, 2012. Ronald Kessler, Chief Washington Correspondent for Newsmax, spoke with FOX News tonight about the Petraeus resignation. Kessler said,“There are several cover-ups going on here. One is the claim that the President Obama was not aware of what was going on with the FBI investigation… Simply look at the facts. Is there any way the FBI would launch an investigation on the CIA Director without telling the president? The second cover-up was the fact that the FBI was told to hold off on this until after the election. I was told in early October that the FBI was outraged about this… It started in a very strange way. The FBI came across emails on his military email account in which he referred to doing something under the desk. And there was a misinterpretation that that meant corruption, something under the table. It actually meant sex under the desk.“

Newsmax, Kessler: FBI Investigation Led to Petraeus Resignation, Ronald Kessler, Nov. 9, 2012. The resignation of David H. Petraeus as CIA director followed an FBI investigation of many months, raising the question of why he was not forced out until after the election. The investigation began last spring, but the FBI then pored over his emails when he was stationed in Afghanistan. At some point after Petraeus was sworn in as CIA director on Sept. 6, 2011, the woman broke up with him. However, Petraeus continued to pursue her, sending her thousands of emails over the last several months, raising even more questions about his judgment.

 

Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

OpEdNews, How BP's historic Deepwater Horizon fine will be paid by the US military, Richard Schiffman, Nov. 17, 2012. An explosion Friday on a rig in the Gulf owned by Houston-based Black Elk Energy has reportedly injured several workers, with four missing, two possibly killed. This latest incident -- just a day after the US department of justice's historic settlement with BP over the Deepwater Horizon disaster -- highlights the risks of offshore oil-drilling, and the need for tougher regulations on one of America's most hazardous industries. British Petroleum has agreed to pay $4.5bn in damages to the US government, the largest criminal fine in US history. BP agreed that its corporate negligence had been a factor in causing the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP is the largest fuel supplier for the US department of defense, with contracts worth $2.2bn a year, according to the Wall Street Journal. Slocum points out that a convicted felon in the US is disqualified from receiving government contracts, yet BP, which he calls a convicted corporate felon, continues to receive more from the US military in yearly profits than it will be required to pay out in fine instalments over the next five year

Huffington Post, BP Oil Spill Settlement Announced, Robert Kaluza And Donald Vidrine Charged With Manslaughter, Nov. 15, 2012.  BP, the British oil giant, pleaded guilty on Thursday to 14 felony counts related to the 2010 explosion and subsequent oil spill at the site of its Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The plea agreement with federal prosecutors includes 11 charges of manslaughter for the deaths of workers on the Deepwater Horizon rig, and one felony count for obstruction of justice for false statements made to Congress about the amount of oil leaking from the out-of-control well. The company will pay $4.5 billion to settle the charges, the largest corporate criminal penalty in U.S. history.

Legal Schnauzer, Alabama Woman Is Unlawfully Imprisoned Because Of An Alleged Debt From Her Divorce Case, Roger Shuler, Nov. 15, 2012.  A central Alabama woman remains in the Chilton County Jail over an alleged debt connected to her divorce settlement, even though her incarceration clearly is contrary to state law. Bonnie Cahalane (Knox) Wyatt has been in jail since July 26, closing in on four months, and apparently will remain behind bars for the Thanksgiving holiday. That's under orders from Chilton County Circuit Judge Sibley Reynolds, who presided over the Wyatt v. Wyatt divorce case that was settled in May 2011. Reynolds' order, however, presents a problem: It is against the law. That is perhaps most evident in a case styled Dolberry v. Dolberry, 920 So. 2d 573 (Ala. Civ. App., 2005). The finding in Dolberry confirms what we have suspected for some time about the Bonnie Wyatt case: (1) She is being incarcerated as punishment for a political or social reason that has nothing to do with her divorce from Harold Jay Wyatt.