Petraeus apologizes for giving classified info to mistress

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘I made a serious mistake': General Petraeus apologizes ‘to American people’ for affair with the mistress he told official secrets to as he is questioned on Capitol.

Retired Army Gen. Petraeus, in his first testimony since resigning as director of the C.I.A., told Congress on Tuesday that the United States should establish enclaves in Syria where a moderate rebel force could operate and where displaced Syrians could find refuge.

David Petraeus’s return to the public spotlight Tuesday began with an apology on Capitol Hill for the mistakes that led to his resignation as CIA director and ended with a blistering attack on the Obama administration’s strategy in the Middle East. Still on criminal probation until April 2017, Petraeus began his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee by expressing regret for mishandling classified information while he was the top U.S. commander in Iraq and Afghanistan. The FBI discovered during an investigation of the mishandled information that Petraeus had passed it to his then-biographer, Paula Broadwell, who had become his mistress.

He called Syria a “geopolitical Chernobyl,” saying the crisis there was “spewing instability and extremism over the region and the rest of the world.” “Like a nuclear disaster,” he said, “the fallout from the meltdown of Syria threatens to be with us for decades, and the longer it is permitted to continue, the more severe the damage will be.” In Iraq, Petraeus said, the U.S. must step up its support for Iraqi Security Forces, Sunni tribal forces and the Kurdish peshmerga. He said U.S. advisers should be embedded in Iraqi units down to the brigade headquarters level and said the administration should explore the “use of Joint Tactical Air Controllers with select Iraqi units to coordinate airstrikes for those units.” Committee Chairman John McCain has long heralded the 2007 troop surge in Iraq that Petraeus oversaw as top commander there as a turning point in the war.

I can only say again how sorry I am to those I let down, and then strive to go forward with a greater sense of humility and purpose, and with gratitude to those who stood with me during a very difficult chapter in my life.’ Petraeus had a military career stretching back nearly 40 years when he resigned, starting shortly after his graduation from West Point in 1974 and duty as an Army infantryman in Italy. His recommendations to Congress go far beyond the steps the White House, which has been cautious about using military power in Syria and Iraq, has embraced. The Arizona Republican also sent a letter last year to the Justice Department calling for its two-year investigation of Petraeus to be “brought to resolution” in a “fair and timely manner.” “At this critical moment in our nation’s security,” McCain wrote, “Congress and the American people cannot afford to have this voice silenced or curtailed by the shadow of a long-running, unresolved investigation marked by leaks from anonymous sources.” Broadwell later wrote her doctoral dissertation at least partly about Petraeus, with his cooperation, and the two then collaborated on her biography of him, which she co-wrote.

Petraeus is now a partner and top executive of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, a New York-based investment firm, and is still married to his wife of 41 years, Holly. Assad and facilitate a political resolution to the bloody conflict. “It is frequently said that there is ‘no military solution’ to Syria or the other conflicts roiling the Middle East,” Mr. Members of the committee welcomed Petraeus back to the congressional witness chair, praised his governmental service, did not mention the incident and limited their questions to Iraq, Syria and Iran. For, in every case, if there is to be any hope of a political settlement, a certain military and security context is required, and that context will not materialize on its own. We and our partners need to facilitate it — and over the past four years, we have not done so.” A Pentagon program to train and equip Syrian rebels has failed to attract many recruits, largely because the goal is to train Syrians to fight the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and not the Assad government.

Central Command, which oversees the war effort, told the committee that only a handful of U.S.-trained Syrian rebels are still on the battlefield fighting the militants. Petraeus suggested several steps to strengthen the military effort, including embedding American advisers with Iraqi forces at the brigade level and exploring the use of American teams to call in airstrikes on behalf of Iraqi forces. Obama also made in arguing for the nuclear accord with Iran. “The most immediate test for the credibility” of the United States’ policy to contain Iranian power in the wake of that deal, Mr.

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