Former CIA Director David Petraeus was betrayed by his own bodyguards and vengeful high-ranking enemies in the CIA, who made sure his affair with Paula Broadwell was exposed to the public, a new book claims.
It comes from two retired special operations commandos – a Navy SEAL and a Green Beret – who say they discovered a plot against David Petraeus while doing research about the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Senior CIA officers targeted David Petraeus because they didn’t like the way he was running the agency – focusing more on paramilitary operations than intelligence analysis. They used their political clout and their connections to force an FBI investigation of his affair with Paula Broadwell and make it public, according to Benghazi: The Definitive Report.
Jack Murphy and co-author Brandon Webb also revealed that the September 11 Benghazi terrorist attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, was retaliation by Islamist militants who had been targeted by covert U.S. military operations.
The book claims that neither Chris Stevens nor even David Petraeus knew about the raids by American special operations troops, which had “kicked a hornet’s nest” among the heavily-armed fighters after the overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser, had been authorizing “unilateral operations in North Africa outside of the traditional command structure”, according to the e-book.
John Brennan is Barack Obama’s pick to replace David Petraeus as head of the CIA.
Benghazi: The Definitive Report, published by William Morrow and Company, is due out in e-book on Tuesday. The authors, Brandon Webb and Jack Murphy, are editors of SOFREP.com, a site devoted to news and stories written by current and former special operations commandos.
Perhaps the most startling accusation in the book is that David Petraeus’ affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell was leaked by the
members of his personal protection detail.
The authors say that senior intelligence officers working on the 7th floor of CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, used their political clout to ensure that the FBI investigated the former Army general’s personal life.
They then told David Petraeus that they would publicly humiliate him if he didn’t admit the affair and resign.
“It was well known to Petraeus’s Personal Security Detachment [bodyguards] that he and Broadwell were having an affair. He wasn’t the only high-ranking Agency head or general engaged in extramarital relations, but when the 7th floor wanted Petraeus out, they cashed in their chips,” Brandon Webb and Jack Murphy write.
The book continues: “The reality of the situation is that high-ranking CIA officers had already discovered the affair by consulting with Petraeus’s PSD and then found a way to initiate an FBI investigation in order to create a string of evidence and an investigative trail that led to the information they already had – in other words, an official investigation that could be used to force Petraeus to resign.”
Brandon Webb and Jack Murphy said the CIA bureaucracy wanted David Petraeus out of the CIA. Senior officials were furious over the way he had been running the agency since he was appointed in September 2011.
David Petraeus was turning the agency’s focus from intelligence gathering and analysis to paramilitary operations, including drone strikes.
Additionally, he ran the CIA like a four-star general, instead of treating it like a political institution, the authors say. His management style made countless powerful enemies within the CIA.
On November 9, three days after Barack Obama’s reelection, David Petraeus shocked the USA by resigning as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and admitting that he had been sleeping with Paula Broadwell – whom he had met while she was researching her biography of him, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.
Before he was publicly castigated, David Petraeus was the most high-profile and highly-respected commander in the military. His counter-insurgency strategy was credited with turning the tide in the Iraq War and securing the country so U.S. troops could withdraw. He also commanded a surge of American forces in Afghanistan.
David Petraeus, 60, earned a Ph.D. from Princeton University and was hailed as a “warrior scholar”. Before his resignation, he was mentioned as a possible vice presidential nominee for Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
His public image is in shambles after the affair went public.
Media reports indicate that the FBI began investigating David Petraeus’ affair with Paula Broadwell after Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, a friend of Petraeus and his wife Holly, reported that she had received threatening emails from the mistress warning her to stay away from the CIA director.
The authors say that Jill Kelley’s report may have started in the FBI investigation – but CIA officers pressured the Justice Department to keep the inquiry open.
Brandon Webb said his sources in the FBI told him federal agents wanted to close down their investigation when they learned that nothing illegal had happened, but they were told to keep digging. The FBI investigators, Brandon Webb says, never wanted to out David Petraeus’ affair.
Jack Murphy said he learned of the “palace coup” from current and former members of the CIA.
The authors claim that David Petraeus was already on his way out when the scandal broke. They learned weeks before that he was interviewing for teaching jobs at Princeton University.
David Petraeus was furious, they say, because he was kept in the dark about the raids being conducted without his knowledge by the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) across Libya and North Africa.
Brandon Webb and Jack Murphy claim that the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate and a CIA outpost in Benghazi proved to David Petraeus that he was an outsider in the Obama administration and that he would remain marginalized as long as he was at the CIA.
The central premise of Benghazi: The Definitive Report is that the attacks were precipitated by secret raids
JSOC had performed in Libya. An attack on the Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia days before September 11 may have been the final straw.
Heavily-armed militants with Ansar al-Sharia attacked the consulate on September 11 as retaliation, the book claims. Ambassador Chris Stevens and Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith died of smoke inhalation when insurgents set fire to the consulate.
After the raid, the militants launched a second attack against a CIA annex across town. It was there that CIA security contractors Ty Woods and Glen Doherty – both former U.S. Navy SEALs – were killed when their position took a direct hit from an enemy mortar.
Brandon Webb and Jack Murphy said they wrote the book to reveal “the truth” behind the attack. They say news accounts of the incident have often been inaccurate because journalists have not had inside access to the people who were on the ground at the time.
The authors have been frustrated, they say, by politicians who have attempted to twist the facts of the case to suit their own ends. Conservatives sought to use the attack as an election issue and place the blame on Barack Obama.
Democrats and the Obama administration have worked to deflect responsibility and downplay the warning signs that were present before the consulate was raided.
Brandon Webb and Jack Murphy claim that the “inside” story of the attack – as told by their connections in the CIA and special operations units of the military – show that Brennan never warned the CIA or Chris Stevens about ongoing U.S. military operations in the country.
State Department and the intelligence community known about what was happening, they would have stepped up security in Benghazi and could have prevented the tragedy.
Both authors are well-positioned to access classified insider information about the attack. They run SOFREP.com, a news site written and edited by current and former members of the special operations community.
Brandon Webb served as a Navy SEAL for ten years and deployed overseas five times. He left the Navy in 2006. Jack Murphy served eight years in the U.S. Army, including as an Army Ranger and a Special Forces Green Beret. He deployed overseas three times before retiring in 2010. He is currently studying political science at Columbia University.