HOLMBERG: Petraeus follows the oldest script in the world, with some cyber twists
RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – How can one man be a genius and a total idiot at the same time?
How could the director of the CIA think for one minute that he could have a secret affair – with his shamelessly positive biographer, of all people – when just a few months earlier he had spoken of the, “utter transparency of the digital world,” a world where “we have to rethink our notions of identity and secrecy.”
Of course, our king of spies wasn’t thinking.
It’s just another story of sex, scandal and power as old as history, older than the Bible’s destructive and power-swapping affair between King David and Bathsheba.
Even old Pat Robertson agrees, saying the general couldn’t resist a beautiful woman who pursued him. “He’s a man.”
The story is so common we should ignore it. And yet, it never seems to get old.
And this a juicy one. Gen. David Petraeus was one of the most admired men in America. The media liked him, as did leaders of both political parties.
As director of the CIA, he had to know bedrooms are where state secrets are lost, and that he could likely be providing the plot for the next James Bond movie. Perhaps beautiful Russian spy Anna Chapman – the so-called “Red under the bed” – will play his lover Paula Broadwell or perhaps the sirenlike Jill Kelley, who has an FBI agent shirtless and a tip-top general looking like a lovestruck puppy.
There’s the whole cybersleuthing angle – Petraeus and his lover reportedly used some simple spycraft – email aliases and a shared account – to cover their tracks. But they were no match at all for the homeland security network that Petraeus’ peeps have built and used on countless citizens.
A bit of poetic justice there, perhaps.
Look at the all the destruction and turmoil, the shifting of power, the howl of the media, over a simple and common physical act.
And so kings and countries have been made, and unmade.
As I like to say, testosterone is the most dangerous substance on earth.
There will always be men who harness it, and rise to great heights before falling prey to it.
And there will always be a Bathsheba waiting, ready to help tell this oldest of stories.