The Petraeus Scandal, One Year Later: Where Are They Now?

There are second acts in American public life

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U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, Commander of American forces in Iraq, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committe on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., April 8, 2008.

Correction appended Nov. 8. 

One year ago Saturday, Gen. David Petraeus resigned as head of the CIA in the wake of revelations that he had carried on an extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell. The scandal only got weirder with each new detail. Broadwell, who is also married but was anxious that Petraeus’ eye was wandering to Tampa socialite, Jill Kelley, sent Kelley a series of anonymous, threatening emails. With the help of a dogged (some say obsessed) FBI agent, Kelley got the Bureau on the case, which eventually grew so large it turned to Kelley herself, and to an email exchange — characterized as “flirty” to the AP by a government official — she had with Gen. John Allen. Petraeus’ and Broadwell’s use of draft emails in a private Gmail account led to more than a few chuckles that even the nation’s top spy couldn’t keep his email private.

“After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair,” Petraeus said in his statement when he resigned. “Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said there are no second acts in American life – but that’s not really true anymore. American public life is full of stories of redemption and reinvention, and the Petraeus scandal is no different. A year later, the key players are moving on — or trying to, at least. To paraphrase another dead writer, the past, after all, is prologue.

One year later, here’s where the main players are now.

David Petraeus

The star of the scandal quickly found a home in academia. In the past year he has taken up teaching positions at USC, The City University of New York, and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He’s also keeping busy with various professional advisory roles, including a position as chairman of the investment firm KKR’s Global Institute. And a year after he resigned, he found himself back in the news with questions about why he reportedly advised downgrading an Army captain’s Medal of Honor nomination.

Paula Broadwell

The scandal’s leading lady spent time in seclusion in Washington, D.C., in the weeks immediately after the news broke, before reconciling with her family and returning home to Charlotte, N.C. In the past year she has tiptoed back into public life in Charlotte, volunteering with veterans groups (and writing about it for Politico and the Daily Beast) while giving the occasional speech or interview with local media. She even made a little foray into local politics, donating $100 to Charlotte’s Republican mayoral candidate Edwin Peacock (he lost). “I’m not focused on the past,” Broadwell said in August. “It was a devastating thing for our family and we still have some healing to do, but we’ve very focused now on how we can continue to contribute and use this for the greater good, too.”

Jill Kelley

Kelley, the Tampa socialite who notified the FBI after receiving threatening emails from Broadwell, has become something of an Internet privacy activist in the wake of the scandal. In June, she sued the FBI and the Pentagon for what she alleges were repeated violations of her privacy and disregard for her status as a victim of cyberstalking. She penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday linking her experience to recent revelations about the National Security Agency’s sweeping surveillance programs. “I hope that my family’s story is a case study about the damage that can be caused by the government’s electronic overreach,” she wrote.

John Allen

The four-star Marine Corps General, who received strange anonymous emails from Broadwell advising him to steer clear of Kelley, retired from military life after fallout from the scandal delayed his prospects of becoming Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. He cited his wife’s health at the time of his resignation. In June, Allen became a Distinguished Fellow at the Brookings Institution and has become a vocal critic of the President Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw American troops from Iraq.

A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the person with whom Petraeus shared draft emails in a private Gmail account. It was Paula Broadwell. The article also incorrectly characterized the sender of emails that a government official had described to the AP as flirtatious. The emails were said to be an exchange between Allen and Kelley. 

20 comments
bobintexas2
bobintexas2

These people whine about their "privacy" and "rights", but if THEY had a chance to spy on YOU or ME, they would do it in a MINUTE.  These types of people are RUTHLESS at getting their WAY.  They don't care who they step on, as long as it is NOT THEM that is getting stepped on.  Yeah, they need to turn the spy machine off, but these people are HARDLY the reason we should.  If anything, they make the case (to some people, not ME) we should be spying on these ego-maniacs.  I don't feel sorry for ANY of these people and if I was running for OFFICE I would NOT take a political "contribution" from them.  She is just trying to climb the power ladder again.  Bob Burnitt

minddbendder
minddbendder

Two old school generals out of the way over one incident. Not bad.


The old,  "two birds with one stone" trick.


Somebody wants certain military leaders out of the way. And in the case of Patraeus, this was a soldier who had the integrity to admit when he messed up. 'The DC crowd has many members who screwed up but refused to resign. Some hang on, but others had to be forced to resign. See the difference?


Pay attention in the future to "scandals" that get other effective military leaders removed. It will continue to happen because SOMEBODY wants them gone. Somebody wants them replaced by "selected others".

lordofthefly
lordofthefly

By the way, these generals such as Petareus and Allen reportedly get annual pensions of around $200,000-225,000. That's a gift from taxpayers. You're welcome, you phonies. 


lordofthefly
lordofthefly

David Petraeus is extraordinarily diminished

He has an agent who has placed him in some jobs, but he is over. He has penned a couple of articles in publications such as Foreign Policy, and most commenters have no respect for him. If he runs for anything, it would have to be in his native NY. Those folks were ready to elect weiner Weiner as mayor, so they would probably go for General Professor Warrior Scholar Petraeus. That said, when do we get to read his e-mails to Scott Broadwell's wife?

mglarochelle
mglarochelle

Use of position to further self-interests - not so unusual ---

ParthaNeogy
ParthaNeogy

A man with Petraeus' lapsed judgment does not belong in the office of the director of CIA.  The harm that he could do at USC, CUNY and Harvard is probably small compared to the good he could do. KKR's shareholders must have knowingly voted on his appointment.  As to the other characters, who cares?

manlyman
manlyman

Another lame attempt at a shiny object. Go Time go!

DreChase
DreChase

So, everyone seems fine . . .

jmac
jmac

It was a sex scandal.   There are always second acts after a sex scandal.  He could have worn a diaper and still had a second act.


bobintexas2
bobintexas2

@lordofthefly He's a big phony, all his talk about [discipline] etc.  His 'running' everyday was part of his overall 'self discipline' I bet he was preaching that to his squeeze Broadwell as they 'ran' together.  These big phony double dealing people NEVER get what they really deserve.  They all suffer from POOR CHARACTER.  BB

Openminded1
Openminded1

@mglarochelle So true even generals think sometimes with their penis, no matter how they are hanging.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@jmac There is a second act to most everything in life, obama is living his second act and not doing so well.

jmac
jmac

@Openminded1 @jmac  Obama's eight year record will top Bush and Reagan.   One tripled the National Debt (Reagan) one was given  a budget surplus (by Clinton) and proceeded to blow it and then  to double the National Debt (even bigger than Reagan tripling it, and then proceeded to give Obama over a trillion in debt for his budget for the year (remember, Bush was handed a surplus).  

Obama was handed a Great Recession heading for a Great Depression that he pulled us out of and then finally got health care reform passed (after a century of trying).   He's tops your guys any day.  

LRPowers
LRPowers

@kanga @jmac @Openminded1

"We went from a $5.6 trillion surplus that George Bush inherited to over ... $11-plus trillion debt when George Bush left office."

Openminded1
Openminded1

@jmac @Openminded1 I do not have any guys Jmac, i did not like anyone who ran certainly not Obama or the Mormon, Mccain at least to me is a good american and has paid is dues in the military. I would have rather voted for Snoop Dog then Obama, at least you know what you get with Snoop.