The Pineapple Patrol IG Investigation

The CIA has announced they’re going to investigate David Petraeus to find out whether his demands for perks were designed to facilitate his affair with Paula Broadwell.

Given allegations that he flew to Paris for some sexy time with Broadwell, I guess the investigation is merited.

But I’m very skeptical of the timing of the investigation.

As far as I know, the investigation was first reported in mid-afternoon by the AP.

That would place the announcement between today’s closed hearings with acting CIA Director Mike Morrel and tomorrow’s hearings with Petraeus.

And at least from the leaks about today’s hearing, it is possible that Petraeus, in public statements, may deviate from the CIA story on the attack.

Here’s what Dutch Ruppersberger said about the CIA’s story after today’s briefing.

Mr. Ruppersberger said on Thursday that this criticism was unfair and that the intelligence community’s assessment of what had happened was now roughly what Ms. Rice recounted on several Sunday talk shows. “You had a group of extremists who took advantage of a situation, and unfortunately we lost four American lives,” he said.

Mr. Ruppersberger also underscored what intelligence officials have said for weeks: that the attack on the diplomatic mission seemed disorganized, and without good command and control, but that the second attack, a mortar strike on the C.I.A. base nearly eight hours later, was much more sophisticated. It was clearly the work of terrorists, he said.

And here’s what Petraeus plans to say tomorrow.

[Petraeus] knew “almost immediately” that Ansar al-Sharia, a loosely connected radical Islamist group, was responsible for the attack, as suggested by multiple sources and video from the scene, said the source. At the same time, a stream of intelligence — including about 20 distinct reports — also emerged indicating that a brewing furor over the anti-Islamic video preceded the attack.

The CIA eventually disproved the reports that film-related protests had anything to do with the attack. But this didn’t happen until after Petraeus’ initial briefings to lawmakers, in which he discussed all the possibilities, the source said.

Whereas Morrel was at least reported to be expected to defend the CIA’s confusion about the video, this suggests Petraeus wants to distance himself from that early confusion.

We’ll see whether the announced plan to investigate his junkets (ha!) to Paris changes that testimony.

Updated: Edited for clarity.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

38 replies
  1. orionatl says:

    “the cia eventually disproved that the film had anything to do with the attack…”

    that can’t be done, unless you are playing with, aka parsing, “the attack” (which).

    the media reports here were that individuals in libya involved in the attack on the consulate were overheard (now who would do a thing like that) discussing either the video or the egyptian citizens’ response to the video, prior to the attack on the consulate.

    that’s central to the “flash mob” explanation.

  2. Skilly says:

    With the affair disclosures I have taken a new different view of this Pineapple request. It shows with a thoughtful partner the general is. Pineapple reportedly has other beneficial properties. ;}

  3. marksb says:

    @prostratedragon: (OK, right thread. Sheesh.)

    Well that “interview” just sounds weird. A reporter on the phone reporting her impressions and her conversations with Gen P, as if she’s the news source, including
    ““I also have never known him to tell me something that is not true,” Phillips told Meade”
    and then
    “David Petraeus has been speaking directly to our own Kyra Phillips, apparently, since the scandal broke, about his affair …”

    Perhaps Ms. Phillips could spend some of the weekend charting how many times and how many people, including his wife and his military colleagues, he has not told the truth.

    Can we find some sane folks to report on this thing? Perhaps EW and Jim and Bmaz?

  4. marksb says:

    @Frank33: Dude has time to speak directly with Kyra Phillips, “since the scandal broke”? How does he fit his in? Does he get more hours a day then we mortals?
    Man, I should have taken that academy appointment instead of just enlisting.

  5. emptywheel says:

    Now that I’m reading this the day after writing it, I’m curious by Ruppersberger’s comments. He’s effectively saying, “Well, of course the attack on the CIA compound was terrorism.”

    But that’s the part of this everyone has been working to hide from day one. It’s CIA’s unwillingness to come clean about a successful attack on a CIA base (think back to the WSJ report that complained that Petraeus didn’t act like Panetta acted after Khost). So the explanation for why CIA was feeding Susan Rice the video story for longer than it should have is bc they DID believe that explained part of the Mission attack, but not the Annex attack, and they were pretending the Annex attack didn’t happen.

  6. joanneleon says:

    It would be hard to find anyone who knows more about the way that this administration deals with whistleblowers than Jesselyn Radack. I urge people to read what she has written about this situation over the past two days.

    Classified(?) Information Magically Appears at Broadwell’s House

    Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act Passes: Guess Who’s Left Out?

    I also note that John Brennan’s name is floating around as a Petraeus successor. When I brought that up last week, I was half kidding and did not think that his “priestly” self would ever be able to get that job. How could he make it through a confirmation hearing given his past history on torture? Hard to imagine but then again, how has he managed to secure such a powerful position for himself in the White House. I worry about all the deals being made on Capitol Hill right now around the bogus fiscal cliff. What other kinds of side deals would be made to sell the American public down the river? Anyway, it looks like he really is a serious contender and if he is, that would cause me to rethink a lot of what is going on lately.

    There are no good guys in all of this, IMHO. Some are worse than others… maybe.

  7. joanneleon says:

    The hit pieces on Petraeus right now, even from journalists like Scahill who I respect very much, are interesting. Has he not already been destroyed enough? Why the continued hit pieces, many of which just talk about the politics of it, who likes whom and who can’t stand whom in the national security establishment. Why not focus, like Jim does here, on his actual record?

    The article is about the militarization of the CIA, something I feel really strongly about too. But that is not exactly news. And since when has the CIA *not* been a killing machine? I think one of the things that has happened recently is a much worse problem. From what I know, and maybe I’m all wet here and just don’t understand, but it’s not just that the CIA has turned into a paramilitary operation, because it always has been, just not run by a recently retired four-star general. I think the much more serious problem is the way that the military proper has been using the CIA to conduct operations that make it easier for them to avoid the laws of war and to commit war crimes. Is that going to change now that Petraeus is gone? No, I don’t think so. I think that is a McRaven and Joint Chiefs and Obama policy that will not be affected by the departure of Petraeus.

    The lede is buried, IMHO, and toward the end, the author turns the article into a tabloidish piece about how unpopular Petraeus was. People have been warning against the worship of military figures, and rightly so. But then what is that whole passage about McRaven about? Isn’t it just the same kind of idolization pointed in another direction? Maybe it’s not and it’s just pointing out what’s going on. But it’s strange, followed by that paragraph from Lang.

    One current State Department liaison who has also worked extensively with JSOC describes the CIA as becoming “a mini-Special Operations Command that purports to be an intelligence agency.” For all the praise Petraeus won for his counterinsurgency strategy and the “surge” in Iraq, he says, his real legacy is as a “political tool,” an enabler of those within the national security apparatus who want to see a continuation of covert global mini-wars. Pointing to the “mystique that surrounds JSOC” and Adm. William McRaven, commander of the Special Operations Command, the liaison says, “Petraeus was trying to implement that kind of command climate at the CIA.”

    “Petraeus wanted to be McRaven, and now that window has closed,” he said. “We are firmly in the age of McRaven. There is no other titular figure with the confidence of the president that is able to articulate strategies and hold their own in rooms where everyone else has the same or greater amount of intellectual heft. McRaven is everything that Petraeus is not.”

    Retired Army Col. W. Patrick Lang, a former senior defense intelligence official, says that Petraeus’s arrogance—“smoothly concealed beneath the appearance of the warrior scholar”—made him deeply unpopular among the military’s high-ranking officers. Dismissing the media’s portrayal of Petraeus as a “super soldier” and great military leader as “phony bullshit,” Lang describes him as the product of a military promotion system that encourages generals to think of themselves as “divinely selected.” “In fact, he didn’t write the COIN manual, the surge was not the main thing in improving the situation in Iraq…. They sent him to Afghanistan to apply the COIN doctrine in the same glorious way he did in Iraq, and it hasn’t worked. So, if you look beneath the surface from all this stuff, it’s just a lot of hot air. There are great generals, but this guy is not one of them.” Arriving at the CIA, Lang says, Petraeus “wanted to drag them in the covert action direction and to be a major player.”

    Is nobody worried about the way McRaven conveniently operates under CIA rules and not military rules when it is convenient? And look at that paragraph — it’s the exact same kind of thing that the Republicans used to say about Petraeus, how godlike he was, how intellectual. So now the new godlike figure is the top dog? And we are supposed to be relieved or something?

    With the disgraced departure of Petraeus, does anybody see an end to the policy of covert global mini-wars? I don’t. I think this president prefers that too. So what is that paragraph all about? Was Obama opposed to that flavor of imperialism?

    Maybe I’m just not getting it. I’ve never thought or said a negative word about this author before and in fact, I think I am guilty of idolizing him to some extent, I now realize. This piece was an eye opener.

  8. Kathleen says:

    Could it have been necessary for the CIA to have publicly put the emphasis on the hate film being the reason for the attack attempting to make the attackers believe they were not aggressively sniffing them out? That view was presented all through the MSM. Could that have been a purposeful diversionary strategy?

  9. joanneleon says:

    @Frank33: I believe I read that the CIA was forced to turn them over to members of the Libyan government who arrived to help. I do remember the word “forced” being used, which I found to be odd and wondered if it was accurate. Didn’t sound right to me.

  10. emptywheel says:

    @Kathleen: To the extent that story exists–and thus far only Fox has run with it and lots of people have knocked it down–the story was that the Feb 17 Brigade, who have reliably provided security in the past, took custody of them.

  11. JThomason says:

    A staging camp for sending captive militia to Syria? Slaves posited as rebels would be worthy of a cover-up.

  12. Frank33 says:

    Slightly OT and not verified. The “Protectors” claim they clobbered ORCA. ORCA was the Republican computer vote theft network.

    They say they brought it down and stopped KKKarl Rove attempt at vote flipping. I would suggest additional targets for the Protectors, the Housewives and Husbands of Spyfall.

  13. orionATL says:


    “…It’s CIA’s unwillingness to come clean about a successful attack on a CIA base (think back to the WSJ report that…”

    what i don’t understand is why we should expect the cia to come clean about an attack on one of its outposts. i would expect that its reflexive institutional response would always be to say nothing at all – not confirm, not deny, maybe lie. that is cia’s modus operandi is it not. and it may be a good thing, with respect to the filed security of its officers, for cia to so behave.

    the libyan situation seems like one of those post-civil war situations where we really do need to have extensive first-hand knowledge of what is going on, not least what is going on with quaddafi- era weaponry.

    while fascinated by the intricate details of both the consulate attack story and the generals’ affairs story, i cannot feel any deep sense of concern for the nation arising our of either one.

    had this small matter not become a political football put into play by a highly opportunistic presidientiazl campaign team, i doubt we would still be reading about it in the national media.

  14. JThomason says:

    The death of Ambassador Stevens distinguishes this incident and mertis attention in the way a simple attack on a CIA outpost would not. And once it began to have implications to a supply channel in the Syrian context there story is not going to be shut down. The conduct of the Generals is hardly significant except that it shined a light on the comments of Broadwell re: the troubling Benghazi situation. That’s my take in any event FWIW and your inquiry being directed elsewhere and the exposure of secret undeclared wars is of paramount interest to the American public.

  15. Nell says:

    OT: Comments appear to be closed on the post about the Fairfax County, Virginia election gum-ups (, but my reading of a week ago is supported by preliminary investigation:

    Quinn and von Spakovsky, R majority on county Board of Elections, cancelled the scheduled Friday-before-election BofE meeting at which they would have had to okay 140 already-approved-by-Quinn Democratic-nominated pollworkers; Quinn’s office stymied approval of another 250 Democratic-nominated workers. Straightforward voter-suppression of the “make ’em wait” variety. Sadly, I don’t believe there are any meaningful penalties for this kind of obstruction.

  16. marksb says:

    @Frank33: That’s a very interesting article on electronic election fraud and the white-hat cyber sleuths bringing down Rove. A lot of it fits the behavior and confidence of election night–watching Fox, Rove and Romney, something happened that was not anticipated at all and it wasn’t just that they read the polls wrong. The polls were clear, no matter what some fools said about skewing, as was the turnout. The only way Rove and Romney could have that much confidence going into election night was if the fix was in.
    And what this “Protectors” group is saying is technically feasible.

  17. LM Lewis says:

    Forget the pineapple. The wine glasses are far more interesting.

    “[T]he intelligence chief requests that six empty wine glasses be placed in his room, in case he needs to host foreign dignitaries or members of the travel party after a long day of meetings.” (from Backchannel at

    Why a demand for wineglasses but no wine? Apparently, he orders wine from the hotel. So, couldn’t he just ask the hotel to provide the requisite number of wineglasses when he orders the wine? Indeed, he could…but then someone would know that he had guests…or perhaps a single female guest.

    And, this is interesting:

    “As for the wine glasses, some say it’s pretty standard for the job.” (Backchannel)

  18. joanneleon says:


    Kelley Made Repeat WH Visits

    Tampa socialite and military booster Jill Kelley and her sister Natalie Khawam – figures at the center of the David Petraeus scandal – were cleared into the White House complex three times this year, most recently last week, for what are described as tourist visits facilitated by a mid-level White House staffer.
    Neither Kelley nor Khawam met with the President or any other senior administration officials on their visits, sources said. They were present only for a “tour” and “courtesy meals.” (President Obama and his senior aides were out of Washington, barnstorming the battleground states on Oct. 24 and Nov. 4.)
    Officials declined to reveal the identity of the staffer, citing privacy concerns. However, his or her name will be revealed publicly in less than 90 days when White House visitor logs for those dates are posted online.
    Petraeus biographer and paramour Paula Broadwell was also on the White House campus twice during President Obama’s first term – on both occasions for meetings in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

  19. Kathleen says:

    Over at Professor Juan Cole’s Informed Comment he has a post from I believe yesterday “Candidate for CIA Jane Harman advocated ethnic break up of Iran” Goes on “Cnn lists former California Representative Jane Harman, now head of the Wilson Center in Was DC as a potential successor to Gen David Petraeus as head of CIA” I almost had a cardiac arrest reading this. How could this be?

  20. klynn says:


    I posted about that rumor – picked it four days ago from a for. policy site, and everyone here laughed at my post.

    Should this be true folks, then I think it sheds light on current events. In light of this news, I linked to a “Fox news piece” (I just made a Muppets worthy funny there) yesterday on the SOFA post. It is an odd piece to read. The content in it makes me think the Harmon appointment is highly potential. And, in light of her interference in the AIPAC spy case, a really bad decision for our country.

    Some more worthy reading:

  21. orionatl says:


    tx for a fine cite.

    juan cole’s article is superb. he says what i believe to be true about israeli territorial theft and israel’s psycholigical viciousness toward the palestinian people.

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