David Petraeus may have resigned last week as a result of personal failings, but his biggest mistakes were to back up a false Obama administration narrative on Benghazi and place himself in a position to be compromised.
That’s the conclusion of Wayne Simmons, who spent 27 years as part of an Outside Paramilitary Special Operations Group for the CIA. He is also the author of the new political thriller, “The Natanz Directive.”
“He sold out,” said Simmons of the decision by Petraeus to publicly conclude a spontaneous demonstration over an anti-Islamic YouTube video was responsible for the deadly attacks against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of four Americans.
“I have met multiple, multiple times with Gen. Petraeus at the Pentagon,” he said. “One of my biggest disappointments and certainly of my colleagues, our disappointment is because we are absolutely convinced that he sold out. And when I say ‘sold out,’ he sold out to the administration (and) got himself tangled into this web.”
Simmons is convinced there is a whole lot more to come on this story.
“I promise you there are going to be many more very powerful people embarrassed about what’s getting ready to come out. There’s just no question,” he said. “This doesn’t just happen with one guy.”
Over the past few days, Petraeus associates have labored to state his affair with Paula Broadwell occurred after he left the U.S. Army and after he was confirmed as CIA director. Simmons said the timing is irrelevant to him. He said Petraeus never should have let himself become compromised by this.
“Everyone makes mistakes, but you cannot put yourself in a position to make this kind of monumental error and mistake and not have the same monumental repercussions come back that not only harm him (and) harm his family which is bad enough, but will absolutely put the national security interests of the United States at risk,” Simmons said.
He believes the intelligence operatives of American allies and enemies certainly knew about the Petraeus affair.
Petraeus was almost universally respected as a military commander and strategist, but Simmons said the general was not the right fit at the CIA.
“There are no tears being shed today for his resignation,” said Simmons. “He’s not an intelligence professional. He is a military professional.”
Simmons said the next director should definitely be an intelligence professional, but he anticipates Obama nominating someone “out of left field.”
But the chaos over Benghazi and now this Petraeus scandal suggest to Simmons a stunning lack of national leadership.
“This is absolutely indicative of what has been going on for four years around the world, in the military, in the intelligence community, in the State Department,” said Simmons. “We are in shambles. And that is because of the lack of leadership coming out of the White House.”