Remember when it was verboten to criticize David Petraeus, particularly in anticipation of his testimony to Congress?
Apparently it’s okay to do so if you run a secret killer drones program. While couched in anonymous sources, this story provides a forum for members of CIA’s counterterrorism center and their congressional backers to insinuate that David Petraeus has betrayed the CIA’s ability to wantonly kill Pakistanis.
The CIA is infamous for challenging outsiders, especially from the Pentagon, and Petraeus has won plaudits for not bringing his former military aides to his new job. Some officials close to the agency praise major espionage operations he has approved but say he has clashed with senior officers at the counter-terrorism center, a powerful fiefdom inside the agency that helps run the covert drone war.
Those officers are frustrated by the drop-off in drone strikes in Pakistan, including an undeclared two-month moratorium that ended Jan. 11, according to several current and former U.S. officials. In interviews, one member of Congress and four senior aides from the House and Senate committees said they were upset as well.
I guess the CIA considers trying to keep our relationship with a nuclear armed Pakistan intact a character flaw.
Now there is actually a complaint in here of concern.
Several aides on the House and Senate committees, however, say Petraeus has not always accommodated lawmakers’ schedules when he plans classified briefings and has limited the briefings’ duration so some questions go unanswered.
The aides, who asked for anonymity while discussing classified briefings, said he also has balked at providing some classified information that members have requested. They declined to provide details.
Mind you, Dianne Feinstein–in the article as well as her statement at the hearing (which you can watch here)–refuted the statement. Which I take to suggest that Petraeus is making ample use of the Gang of Four, briefing DiFi and Saxby Chambliss, but not other members of the committee.