November 9th, 2012
05:11 PM ET

Letters to the President #1390: 'Petraeus walks'

Reporter's Note: President Obama’s CIA Director quit this afternoon, just as I was writing my daily letter to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

Just last week I was discussing with a friend how few scandals have plagued your administration. Sure, you’ve had a few low-lying dustups that have not looked particularly good, but few things with genuinely sharp teeth have appeared to threaten the reputation of your team. Republicans probably disagree with that assessment, but as I sit here I can’t think of anything poisonous.

Mind you, and with no offense, I don’t particularly attribute that to anything except luck. Most presidents, I have faith, try to pick out good people with whom to work. And yet, invariably, sooner of later someone strays into something less than savory and the Chief Executive is put in the difficult position of dealing with it.

And now here comes the scandal and resignation of your CIA Director David Petraeus, just at the end of your re-election week. Talk about spoiling the party. All things considered, I suppose you’re happier having it happen now than you’d have been if happened a week ago, but it can’t be pleasant either way.

I feel terrible for his family. People do foolish things all the time, but when they sit in high places the repercussions can sometimes seem much worse than they might be otherwise. The emotional pain, I am sure, is the same, but the scale of the embarrassment is much more grand. Despite a lifetime of honored work, he will now be known in large part for a big mistake at the end of his career. And despite decades of being married, his wife will now spend the rest of her life with the nation knowing he was untrue.

That’s hard for everyone, including some people who in many ways were not at all involved…like you. So I hope for all involved that the most painful days pass quickly.

Call if you want to talk.


soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Anna Chacko MD

    Cindy Smith is right on target. While Gen Petraeus' infidelity is sad for the family as well as for his mistress/lover, he was not selected for his position based on his morals, he was selected because he has proven again and again that he was an outstanding military officer. This is an effective way of silencing him before testifying before the Congress. We are the losers in this game – a crying game. Using Gen Petraeus' admission of infidelity as an excuse to accept his resignation is pathetic and insulting to the intelligence of the public.

    November 12, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  2. Cindy Smith

    What better way to discredit someone (who may have some very interesting and damaging information against the president, whitehouse and their departments), than to dig out some skeletons from someone's closet, which in all likelihood are irrelevant to some bigger picture. What you should be asking CNN, is WHY right after the election was this focused on, who has been vying for certain high level positions, and exactly WHAT does Patraeus know that the current administration would like to discredit?... Timing is everything, and this timing, is highly suspicious!

    November 9, 2012 at 8:21 pm |