Election américaine 2012/Affaire Petraeus: Attention, un scandale peut en cacher un autre (The real scandal within the scandal: Obama’s still in the secret detention business)

Les drones américains ont liquidé plus de monde que le nombre total des détenus de Guantanamo. Pouvons nous être certains qu’il n’y avait parmi eux aucun cas d’erreurs sur la personne ou de morts innocentes ? Les prisonniers de Guantanamo avaient au moins une chance d’établir leur identité, d’être examinés par un Comité de surveillance et, dans la plupart des cas, d’être relâchés. Ceux qui restent à Guantanamo ont été contrôlés et, finalement, devront faire face à une forme quelconque de procédure judiciaire. Ceux qui ont été tués par des frappes de drones, quels qu’ils aient été, ont disparu. Un point c’est tout. Kurt Volker
According to a source on the ground at the time of the attack, the team inside the CIA annex had captured three Libyan attackers and was forced to hand them over to the Libyans. U.S. officials do not know what happened to those three attackers and whether they were released by the Libyan forces. Fox News (October 26, 2012)
Now, I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had actually, um, had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. So that’s still being vetted. Paula Broadwell (Oct. 26, 2012)
A well-placed Washington source confirms to Fox News that there were Libyan militiamen being held at the CIA annex in Benghazi and that their presence was being looked at as a possible motive for the staged attack on the consulate and annex that night. According to multiple intelligence sources who have served in Benghazi, there were more than just Libyan militia members who were held and interrogated by CIA contractors at the CIA annex in the days prior to the attack. Other prisoners from additional countries in Africa and the Middle East were brought to this location. The Libya annex was the largest CIA station in North Africa, and two weeks prior to the attack, the CIA was preparing to shut it down. Most prisoners, according to British and American intelligence sources, had been moved two weeks earlier. Fox news (Nov. 12, 2012)
Based on what is known, what is most disturbing about the whole Petraeus scandal is not the sexual activities that it revealed, but the wildly out-of-control government surveillance powers which enabled these revelations. What requires investigation here is not Petraeus and Allen and their various sexual partners but the FBI and the whole sprawling, unaccountable surveillance system that has been built. The Guardian
Les États-Unis sont perçus comme un pays puritain où l’adultère est un problème. L’adultère peut être considéré comme un motif suffisant de démission par les conservateurs, la frange des républicains la plus radicale sur les questions de société, religieuses et morales. Mais si le responsable public fait ses aveux et son mea culpa, y compris devant le public, il peut s’en remettre assez facilement, même si c’est un républicain. Ce n’est que lorsque cela échappe au contrôle des protagonistes, que l’on cache des faits et qu’il y a une enquête que cela devient compliqué. Pour les Américains, ce qui pose problème, c’est plus ce que l’on cache. En outre, le fait pour un responsable public de mentir ou de dissimuler une aventure extraconjugale va focaliser l’attention et être une source de discrédit politique. Même si les individus impliqués n’ont commis aucun délit, ni violé aucune loi, il est difficile de s’en remettre. C’est surtout cela que le général Petraeus a voulu éviter en offrant sa démission qui a été acceptée par Barack Obama. Il s’agit d’abord de ne pas donner aux républicains l’opportunité de créer un embarras politique en lançant des enquêtes, prendre les devants avant que la situation ne devienne ingérable. Le fait que cette démission intervienne après l’élection présidentielle n’est pas anodin. Cette démission passera plus facilement dans le cadre du renouvellement prévu d’une grande partie des responsables de l’administration Obama avant le second mandat présidentiel qui commence en janvier. Olivier Delhomme
L’administration Obama a toujours cherché à contrôler très étroitement sa communication et à éviter les scandales. Les démocrates n’ont pas oublié ce qui s’est passé pendant la présidence de Bill Clinton (NDLR : l’affaire Monica Lewinsky) et ne veulent pas prendre de risque avec ce genre de choses. »Vue depuis la France, où l’on n’imagine pas une seconde le patron des RG démissionner pour une histoire de maîtresse, l’affaire paraît disproportionnée. Mais aux Etats-Unis, on ne plaisante pas avec l’infidélité. Bill Clinton, tout le monde s’en souvient, a frôlé l’impeachment pour ça. L’armée, en particulier, prend l’adultère très au sérieux. Le code militaire en vigueur aux Etats-Unis classe l’adultère comme un crime, car portant «atteinte à l’ordre» et venant jeter le discrédit sur l’ensemble des troupes (cf. l’article 134). Dans le cas de Petraeus, cependant, il ne s’agit pas que de puritanisme. «Semblable comportement est inacceptable à la fois comme époux et comme patron d’une organisation telle que la nôtre», s’est-il excusé. Par ces termes, il place lui-même sa «faute» sur deux plans : celui des mœurs, et celui de la sécurité. A ce niveau de responsabilités, qui dit maîtresse (ou amant) dit fuites possibles. Risque de chantage, aussi. En l’état de l’enquête, rien ne permet de conclure que Petraeus a transmis des infos. Mais pour les Américains, David Petraeus, la tête d’une organisation détenant les informations les plus ultraconfidentielles qui soient, apparaît comme un homme qui a failli. Un homme qui s’est mis en position de faiblesse, et son organisation avec lui. Libération
D’après les éléments collectés par la presse, dont le New York Times, tout a débuté au début de l’été, quand le FBI a ouvert une enquête sur six mails anonymes de menace envoyés à Jill Kelley. Pourquoi l’affaire a-t-elle mis plusieurs mois à sortir ? Ce n’est en effet que le 6 novembre, jour de la réélection de Barack Obama, que le supérieur de David Petraeus, le directeur national du renseignement (DNI), James Clapper, a été mis au courant. La Maison Blanche l’a été le lendemain. Il n’en faut pas plus pour que certains flairent le complot. Mais complot orchestré par qui, pourquoi ? Autre point troublant, que les républicains n’ont pas manqué de relever : la démission de Petraeus est intervenue juste avant l’ouverture, ce mardi, des auditions à huis clos prévues devant le Congrès sur l’attaque contre le consulat américain le 11 septembre à Benghazi, en Libye. La réaction de la CIA dans cette attaque a été mise en cause. A ce titre, David Petraeus devait témoigner. Ce sera finalement le directeur adjoint de l’agence, Michael Morell, qui ira à sa place. Reste que la commission du renseignement du Sénat américain va enquêter pour savoir pourquoi le FBI ne l’a pas informée de l’affaire Petraeus : «Nous aurions dû être informés, il s’agit de quelque chose qui aurait pu avoir un effet sur la sécurité nationale», a souligné sa présidente. Libération

COMPLEMENT:

And that brings us to the ultimate issue, and that is his testimony on September 13. That’s the thing that connects the two scandals, and that’s the only thing that makes the sex scandal relevant. Otherwise it would be an exercise in sensationalism and voyeurism and nothing else. The reason it’s important is here’s a man who knows the administration holds his fate in its hands, and he gives testimony completely at variance with what the Secretary of Defense had said the day before, at variance with what he’d heard from his station chief in Tripoli, and with everything that we had heard. Was he influenced by the fact that he knew his fate was held by people within the administration at that time? Of course it was being held over Petraeus’s head, and the sword was lowered on Election Day. You don’t have to be a cynic to see that as the ultimate in cynicism. As long as they needed him to give the administration line to quote Bill, everybody was silent. And as soon as the election’s over, as soon as he can be dispensed with, the sword drops and he’s destroyed. I mean, can you imagine what it’s like to be on that pressure and to think it didn’t distort or at least in some way unconsciously influence his testimony? That’s hard to believe. Charles Krauthammer

Pour ceux qui n’auraient toujours pas compris que l’intérêt des scandales, c’est ce qu’ils révèlent sur ce qui passait jusque là pour la normalité …

Alors que nos médias s’excitent sur l’Affaire Petraeus (élargie à présent jusqu’au commandant des forces de l’Otan en Afghanistan John Allen) et le cliché habituel du puritanisme américain …

Pendant que, dans l’indifférence générale, les roquettes pleuvent littéralement sur Israël …

Retour, avec Fox news, sur le scandale dans le scandale …

A savoir, inaperçue sur le moment par Fox news elle-même au-delà du premier scandale d’une attaque faussement présentée comme la réponse à une vidéo anti-islam et à moins d’une semaine d’une élection présidentielle cruciale, la confirmation du véritable bilan de celui qui aura liquidé plus de monde avec ses drones que n’en aura incarcéré la prison de Guantanamo qu’il avait pourtant promis de fermer …

Autrement dit, dans le cas précis où l’on apprenait par la bande que l’attaque sur le consulat de Benghazi qui avait tué le premier ambassadeur américain en plus de 30 ans aurait en fait eu pour but de libérer des détenus dans ce qui semble être devenu de fait un lieu secret de détention pour toutes sortes de jihadistes issus d’une bonne partie du continent africain …

La confirmation que, contrairement à tout ce qui avait été dit et répété (et tant critiqué dans l’Administration précédente), la CIA du plus rapide prix Nobel de l’histoire est toujours dans le « secret detention business » …

EXCLUSIVE: CIA operators were denied request for help during Benghazi attack, sources say

Jennifer Griffin

FoxNews.com

October 26, 2012

Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later on the annex itself was denied by the CIA chain of command — who also told the CIA operators twice to « stand down » rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.

Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to « stand down, » according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to « stand down. »

Woods and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The rescue team from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.

At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Spectre gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights.

CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood, though, denied the claims that requests for support were turned down.

« We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi, » she said. « Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. In fact, it is important to remember how many lives were saved by courageous Americans who put their own safety at risk that night-and that some of those selfless Americans gave their lives in the effort to rescue their comrades. »

The fighting at the CIA annex went on for more than four hours — enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators.

A Special Operations team, or CIF which stands for Commanders in Extremis Force, operating in Central Europe had been moved to Sigonella, Italy, but they were never told to deploy. In fact, a Pentagon official says there were never any requests to deploy assets from outside the country. A second force that specializes in counterterrorism rescues was on hand at Sigonella, according to senior military and intelligence sources. According to those sources, they could have flown to Benghazi in less than two hours. They were the same distance to Benghazi as those that were sent from Tripoli. Spectre gunships are commonly used by the Special Operations community to provide close air support.

According to sources on the ground during the attack, the special operator on the roof of the CIA annex had visual contact and a laser pointing at the Libyan mortar team that was targeting the CIA annex. The operators were calling in coordinates of where the Libyan forces were firing from.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday that there was not a clear enough picture of what was occurring on the ground in Benghazi to send help.

« There’s a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on here, » Panetta said Thursday. « But the basic principle here … is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on. »

U.S. officials argue that there was a period of several hours when the fighting stopped before the mortars were fired at the annex, leading officials to believe the attack was over.

Fox News has learned that there were two military surveillance drones redirected to Benghazi shortly after the attack on the consulate began. They were already in the vicinity. The second surveillance craft was sent to relieve the first drone, perhaps due to fuel issues. Both were capable of sending real time visuals back to U.S. officials in Washington, D.C. Any U.S. official or agency with the proper clearance, including the White House Situation Room, State Department, CIA, Pentagon and others, could call up that video in real time on their computers.

Tyrone Woods was later joined at the scene by fellow former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, who was sent in from Tripoli as part of a Global Response Staff or GRS that provides security to CIA case officers and provides countersurveillance and surveillance protection. They were killed by a mortar shell at 4 a.m. Libyan time, nearly seven hours after the attack on the consulate began — a window that represented more than enough time for the U.S. military to send back-up from nearby bases in Europe, according to sources familiar with Special Operations. Four mortars were fired at the annex. The first one struck outside the annex. Three more hit the annex.

A motorcade of dozens of Libyan vehicles, some mounted with 50 caliber machine guns, belonging to the February 17th Brigades, a Libyan militia which is friendly to the U.S., finally showed up at the CIA annex at approximately 3 a.m. An American Quick Reaction Force sent from Tripoli had arrived at the Benghazi airport at 2 a.m. (four hours after the initial attack on the consulate) and was delayed for 45 minutes at the airport because they could not at first get transportation, allegedly due to confusion among Libyan militias who were supposed to escort them to the annex, according to Benghazi sources.

The American special operators, Woods, Doherty and at least two others were part of the Global Response Staff, a CIA element, based at the CIA annex and were protecting CIA operators who were part of a mission to track and repurchase arms in Benghazi that had proliferated in the wake of Muammar Qaddafi’s fall. Part of their mission was to find the more than 20,000 missing MANPADS, or shoulder-held missiles capable of bringing down a commercial aircraft. According to a source on the ground at the time of the attack, the team inside the CIA annex had captured three Libyan attackers and was forced to hand them over to the Libyans. U.S. officials do not know what happened to those three attackers and whether they were released by the Libyan forces.

Fox News has also learned that Stevens was in Benghazi that day to be present at the opening of an English-language school being started by the Libyan farmer who helped save an American pilot who had been shot down by pro-Qaddafi forces during the initial war to overthrow the regime. That farmer saved the life of the American pilot and the ambassador wanted to be present to launch the Libyan rescuer’s new school.

Voir aussi:

EXCLUSIVE: Petraeus mistress may have revealed classified information at Denver speech on real reason for Libya attack

Jennifer Griffin, Adam Housley

FoxNews.com

November 12, 2012

Biographer Paula Broadwell could be facing questions about whether she revealed classified information about the Libya attack that she was privy to due to her relationship with then-CIA Director David Petraeus.

At an Oct. 26 speech at her alma mater, the University of Denver, on the same day that Fox News reported that the rescue team at the CIA annex had been denied help, Broadwell was asked about Petraeus’ handling of the Benghazi situation.

Her response was reported originally by Israel’s Arutz Sheva and Foreign Policy’s Blake Hounshell.

Broadwell quoted the Fox News report when she said: “The facts that came out today were that the ground forces there at the CIA annex, which is different from the consulate, were requesting reinforcements. »

Broadwell went on to explain more sensitive details from the Benghazi attacks, particularly concerning what the real cause might have been.

“Now, I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had actually, um, had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. So that’s still being vetted.”

In the original Oct. 26 Fox News report, sources at the annex said that the CIA’s Global Response Staff had handed over three Libyan militia members to the Libyan authorities who came to rescue the 30 Americans in the early hours of Sept. 12.

A well-placed Washington source confirms to Fox News that there were Libyan militiamen being held at the CIA annex in Benghazi and that their presence was being looked at as a possible motive for the staged attack on the consulate and annex that night.

According to multiple intelligence sources who have served in Benghazi, there were more than just Libyan militia members who were held and interrogated by CIA contractors at the CIA annex in the days prior to the attack. Other prisoners from additional countries in Africa and the Middle East were brought to this location.

The Libya annex was the largest CIA station in North Africa, and two weeks prior to the attack, the CIA was preparing to shut it down. Most prisoners, according to British and American intelligence sources, had been moved two weeks earlier.

The CIA, though, categorically denied these allegations, saying: “The CIA has not had detention authority since January 2009, when Executive Order 13491 was issued. Any suggestion that the agency is still in the detention business is uninformed and baseless.”

Broadwell’s affair with Petraeus was likely known to Holly Petraeus, according to family friends. The FBI reportedly knew about it months beforehand and White House Counterterrorism adviser John Brennan reportedly was aware that there was a relationship as early as the summer of 2011.

The White House strongly denied that Brennan was aware so early.

“It is irresponsible and flat out wrong for Fox News to run an anonymous, unsubstantiated, and blatantly false accusation, as Mr. Brennan was first made aware of the issue last Wednesday, » spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

Broadwell, whose affair with Petraeus reportedly ended earlier this year, continued to serve as an informal spokesman for the CIA director. She suggests in her Denver speech that Petraeus knew almost immediately that the attack was a terror attack — possibly to free militia members.

A few days later, Petraeus testified in a closed session to Congress that the attack was due in large part to an anti-Islam video and a spontaneous uprising, according to reports from the hearing.

Congressional leaders say privately they believe they were lied to by Petraeus when he testified shortly after the attack. Some of these members already considered charging Petraeus with perjury, but said they planned to withhold judgment until he testified this week. After resigning as CIA director, the CIA said Acting Director Mike Morrell would testify in his place

All of this raises the question: What was the CIA really doing in Benghazi in addition to searching for Qaddafi’s stash of more than 22,000 shoulder-held missiles that could bring down commercial airplanes, and who in the White House knew exactly what the CIA was up to?

Voir également:

FBI’s Abuse of the Surveillance State Is the Real Scandal

Glen Greenwald

Guardian UK

13 November 12

That the stars of America’s national security establishment are being devoured by out-of-control surveillance is a form of sweet justice

The Petraeus scandal is receiving intense media scrutiny obviously due to its salacious aspects, leaving one, as always, to fantasize about what a stellar press corps we would have if they devoted a tiny fraction of this energy to dissecting non-sex political scandals (this unintentionally amusing New York Times headline from this morning – « Concern Grows Over Top Military Officers’ Ethics » – illustrates that point: with all the crimes committed by the US military over the last decade and long before, it’s only adultery that causes « concern » over their « ethics »). Nonetheless, several of the emerging revelations are genuinely valuable, particularly those involving the conduct of the FBI and the reach of the US surveillance state.

As is now widely reported, the FBI investigation began when Jill Kelley – a Tampa socialite friendly with Petraeus (and apparently very friendly with Gen. John Allen, the four-star U.S. commander of the war in Afghanistan) – received a half-dozen or so anonymous emails that she found vaguely threatening. She then informed a friend of hers who was an FBI agent, and a major FBI investigation was then launched that set out to determine the identity of the anonymous emailer.

That is the first disturbing fact: it appears that the FBI not only devoted substantial resources, but also engaged in highly invasive surveillance, for no reason other than to do a personal favor for a friend of one of its agents, to find out who was very mildly harassing her by email. The emails Kelley received were, as the Daily Beast reports, quite banal and clearly not an event that warranted an FBI investigation:

« The emails that Jill Kelley showed an FBI friend near the start of last summer were not jealous lover warnings like ‘stay away from my man’, a knowledgeable source tells The Daily Beast. . . .

« ‘More like, ‘Who do you think you are? . . .You parade around the base . . . You need to take it down a notch,' » according to the source, who was until recently at the highest levels of the intelligence community and prefers not to be identified by name.

« The source reports that the emails did make one reference to Gen. David Petraeus, but it was oblique and offered no manifest suggestion of a personal relationship or even that he was central to the sender’s spite. . . . v »When the FBI friend showed the emails to the cyber squad in the Tampa field office, her fellow agents noted the absence of any overt threats.

« No, ‘I’ll kill you’ or ‘I’ll burn your house down, » the source says. ‘It doesn’t seem really that bad.’

« The squad was not even sure the case was worth pursuing, the source says.

« ‘What does this mean? There’s no threat there. This is against the law?’ the agents asked themselves by the source’s account.

« At most the messages were harassing. The cyber squad had to consult the statute books in its effort to determine whether there was adequate legal cause to open a case.

« ‘It was a close call,’ the source says.

« What tipped it may have been Kelley’s friendship with the agent. »

That this deeply personal motive was what spawned the FBI investigation is bolstered by the fact that the initial investigating agent « was barred from taking part in the case over the summer due to superiors’ concerns that he was personally involved in the case » – indeed, « supervisors soon became concerned that the initial agent might have grown obsessed with the matter » – and was found to have « allegedly sent shirtless photos » to Kelley, and « is now under investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, the internal-affairs arm of the FBI ».

[The New York Times this morning reports that the FBI claims the emails contained references to parts of Petraeus’ schedule that were not publicly disclosed, though as Marcy Wheeler documents, the way the investigation proceeded strongly suggests that at least the initial impetus behind it was a desire to settle personal scores.]

What is most striking is how sweeping, probing and invasive the FBI’s investigation then became, all without any evidence of any actual crime – or the need for any search warrant:

« Because the sender’s account had been registered anonymously, investigators had to use forensic techniques – including a check of what other e-mail accounts had been accessed from the same computer address – to identify who was writing the e-mails.

« Eventually they identified Ms. Broadwell as a prime suspect and obtained access to her regular e-mail account. In its in-box, they discovered intimate and sexually explicit e-mails from another account that also was not immediately identifiable. Investigators eventually ascertained that it belonged to Mr. Petraeus and studied the possibility that someone had hacked into Mr. Petraeus’s account or was posing as him to send the explicit messages. »

So all based on a handful of rather unremarkable emails sent to a woman fortunate enough to have a friend at the FBI, the FBI traced all of Broadwell’s physical locations, learned of all the accounts she uses, ended up reading all of her emails, investigated the identity of her anonymous lover (who turned out to be Petraeus), and then possibly read his emails as well. They dug around in all of this without any evidence of any real crime – at most, they had a case of « cyber-harassment » more benign than what regularly appears in my email inbox and that of countless of other people – and, in large part, without the need for any warrant from a court.

But that isn’t all the FBI learned. It was revealed this morning that they also discovered « alleged inappropriate communication » to Kelley from Gen. Allen, who is not only the top commander in Afghanistan but was also just nominated by President Obama to be the Commander of US European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe (a nomination now « on hold »). Here, according to Reuters, is what the snooping FBI agents obtained about that [emphasis added]:

« The U.S. official said the FBI uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of communications – mostly emails spanning from 2010 to 2012 – between Allen and Jill Kelley . . . .

« Asked whether there was concern about the disclosure of classified information, the official said, on condition of anonymity: ‘We are concerned about inappropriate communications. We are not going to speculate as to what is contained in these documents.' »

So not only did the FBI – again, all without any real evidence of a crime – trace the locations and identity of Broadwell and Petreaus, and read through Broadwell’s emails (and possibly Petraeus’), but they also got their hands on and read through 20,000-30,000 pages of emails between Gen. Allen and Kelley.

This is a surveillance state run amok. It also highlights how any remnants of internet anonymity have been all but obliterated by the union between the state and technology companies.

But, as unwarranted and invasive as this all is, there is some sweet justice in having the stars of America’s national security state destroyed by the very surveillance system which they implemented and over which they preside. As Trevor Timm of the Electronic Frontier Foundation put it this morning: « Who knew the key to stopping the Surveillance State was to just wait until it got so big that it ate itself? »

It is usually the case that abuses of state power become a source for concern and opposition only when they begin to subsume the elites who are responsible for those abuses. Recall how former Democratic Rep. Jane Harman – one of the most outspoken defenders of the illegal Bush National Security Agency (NSA) warrantless eavesdropping program – suddenly began sounding like an irate, life-long ACLU privacy activist when it was revealed that the NSA had eavesdropped on her private communications with a suspected Israeli agent over alleged attempts to intervene on behalf of AIPAC officials accused of espionage. Overnight, one of the Surveillance State’s chief assets, the former ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, transformed into a vocal privacy proponent because now it was her activities, rather than those of powerless citizens, which were invaded.

With the private, intimate activities of America’s most revered military and intelligence officials being smeared all over newspapers and televisions for no good reason, perhaps similar conversions are possible. Put another way, having the career of the beloved CIA Director and the commanding general in Afghanistan instantly destroyed due to highly invasive and unwarranted electronic surveillance is almost enough to make one believe not only that there is a god, but that he is an ardent civil libertarian.

The US operates a sprawling, unaccountable Surveillance State that – in violent breach of the core guarantees of the Fourth Amendment – monitors and records virtually everything even the most law-abiding citizens do. Just to get a flavor for how pervasive it is, recall that the Washington Post, in its 2010 three-part « Top Secret America » series, reported: « Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. »

Equally vivid is this 2007 chart from Privacy International, a group that monitors the surveillance policies of nations around the world. Each color represents the level of the nation’s privacy and surveillance policies, with black being the most invasive and abusive (« Endemic Surveillance Societies ») and blue being the least (« Consistently upholds human rights standards »):

And the Obama administration has spent the last four years aggressively seeking to expand that Surveillance State, including by agitating for Congressional action to amend the Patriot Act to include Internet and browsing data among the records obtainable by the FBI without court approval and demanding legislation requiring that all Internet communications contain a government « backdoor » of surveillance.

Based on what is known, what is most disturbing about the whole Petraeus scandal is not the sexual activities that it revealed, but the wildly out-of-control government surveillance powers which enabled these revelations. What requires investigation here is not Petraeus and Allen and their various sexual partners but the FBI and the whole sprawling, unaccountable surveillance system that has been built.

Related Notes

(1) One of the claims made over the last week was that Broadwell, in public comments about the Benghazi attack, referenced non-public information – including that the CIA was holding prisoners in Benghazi and that this motivated the attack – suggesting that someone gave her classified information. About those claims, a national security reporter for Fox reported:

« that a well-placed Washington source confirms that Libyan militiamen were being held at the CIA annex and may have been a possible reason for the attack. Multiple intelligence sources, she also reported, said ‘there were more than just Libyan militia members who were held and interrogated by CIA contractors at the CIA annex in the days prior to the attack. Other prisoners from additional countries in Africa and the Middle East were brought to this location.' »

Though the CIA denies that « the agency is still in the detention business », it certainly should be investigated to determine whether the CIA is maintaining off-the-books detention facilities in Libya.

(2) I’ve long noted that Michael Hastings is one of the nation’s best and most valuable journalists; to see why that is so, please watch the amazing 8-minute clip from last night’s Piers Morgan Show on CNN embedded below, when he appeared with two Petraeus-defending military officials (via the Atlantic’s Adam Clark Estes). When you’re done watching that, contrast that with the remarkably candid confession this week from Wired’s national security reporter Spencer Ackerman on how he, along with so many other journalists, hypnotically joined what he aptly calls the « Cult of David Petraeus ».

Voir encore:

Démission du patron de la CIA : les raisons cachées derrière le pretexte de l’affaire de l’adultère

La démission du général David Petraeus laisse la CIA sans chef. Officiellement, il s’agit d’un scandale déclenché par une liaison extra conjugale. Mais le général a sans doute aussi payé le fiasco de l’attaque du consulat américain à Benghazi qui a fait 3 morts américains, dont l’ambassadeur.

La CIA décapitée

12 novembre 2012

La démission surprise du général David Petraeus, héros de l’Irak et de l’Afghanistan, laisse la CIA sans chef. Officiellement, il s’agirait d’un scandale déclenché par une liaison du général avec sa ravissante biographe, après 37 ans de mariage. Selon la tradition américaine, le général David Petraeus s’est frappé la poitrine auprès des medias, maudissant son erreur de jugement, et a même demandé aux membres de la CIA de lui pardonner ses errements.

Bizarrement, cette démission surprise n’avait été précédée d’aucun scandale révélé par les medias américains. On peut donc légitimement se poser la question de savoir si c’est la véritable raison du départ du général Petraeus.

Par contre, cette démission s’inscrit entre deux évènements majeurs : l’attaque du consulat américain à Benghazi qui a fait 3 morts américains, dont l’ambassadeur, et la réélection de Barack Obama. Aussi pense-t-on à Washington que le général Petraeus, qui était un brillant militaire, mais n’avait aucune expérience du renseignement, a été dégagé simplement parce qu’il n’était pas à la hauteur. On sait que Barack Obama avait violemment réagi à l’incident de Benghazi : cela faisait plus de 30 ans qu’un ambassadeur américain n’avait pas été assassiné.

David Petraeus devait être entendu par la commission d’enquête sur l’affaire de Benghazi dans quelques jours et il risquait d’avoir à avouer que la CIA avait failli. Lourdement.

On peut donc penser qu’une combinaison de pressions de la Maison blanche et sa propre réticence à avouer les erreurs de l’Agence ont provoqué cette fausse démission. Personne ne le regrettera à Langley, car il n’avait pas vraiment marqué de son empreinte la grande agence de renseignements.

Voir encore:

Sexe, menaces et documents secrets, les dessous de l’affaire Petraeus

CB

Libération

13 novembre 2012

Apparue sans prévenir vendredi, l’affaire Petraeus tourne à l’imbroglio, sans que l’on comprenne d’ailleurs encore bien où est le scandale. Rappel des faits pour s’y retrouver.

Ce que l’on sait

D’abord, l’affaire Petraeus proprement dite. Elle a éclaté publiquement vendredi, quand David Petraeus, le directeur de la CIA, 60 ans, marié depuis trente-sept ans, général considéré comme un héros national pour son rôle dans la guerre d’Irak, a annoncé sa démission. Motif ? Une «relation extraconjugale». L’Amérique se pince. Le nom de Paula Broadwell (photo Reuters, au côté de David Petraeus), auteure d’une biographie sur lui, apparaît rapidement pour le rôle de la maîtresse. La relation entre Petraeus et Paula Broadwell a débuté deux mois après son arrivée à la tête de la CIA en septembre 2011, et a pris fin il y a quatre mois, précisera Steve Boylanun, ami et ancien porte-parole de Petraeus.

Deuxième étape, deuxième femme. Une certaine Jill Kelley (photo Reuters), 37 ans, domicilée à Tampa, en Floride, apparaît dans l’affaire. C’est une proche de la famille Petraeus. Elle est allée voir le FBI au début de l’été pour se plaindre de courriers électroniques anonymes menaçants. L’enquête a révélé que ces messages étaient envoyés par Paula Broadwell. En remontant le fil, le FBI est ensuite tombé sur des mails entre Paula Broadwell et Petraeus. C’est cette correspondance par mails qui fera éclater le scandale.

Le 22 octobre, Paula Broadwell est entendue par le FBI. Elle remet aux enquêteurs son ordinateur. Ils y découvrent des dossiers classés «secret». Elle affirme que ce n’est pas David Petraeus qui les lui a fournis. Ce dernier, également entendu, soutient de son côté qu’il n’a rien transmis à sa maîtresse. Les enquêteurs concluent qu’il n’y a aucun élément laissant penser que le directeur de la CIA lui a fourni des documents classifiés et a violé la loi.

Troisième étape, ce mardi, avec l’apparition d’une affaire dans l’affaire. Ce nouveau volet met en cause un nouveau protagoniste, John Allen, le commandant des forces de l’Otan en Afghanistan. Cet officier discret bardé de diplômes, qui a gagné ses lettres de noblesse en Irak, est l’objet d’une enquête pour avoir envoyé des courriels «inappropriés» à la fameuse Jill Kelley. Le FBI a découvert 30 000 pages de correspondance entre eux, selon le Pentagone. Une autre histoire de coucheries ? Non, selon un responsable américain proche du général Allen, interrogé par le Washington Post : «Il n’a jamais été seul avec elle. A-t-il eu une laison ? Non.» Par ailleurs, selon lui, la correspondance entre les deux était «loin» d’atteindre le volume décrit. Ils ont échangé «quelques centaines de courriers électroniques au fil des années».

En attendant que l’enquête permette d’y voir plus clair, Barack Obama a suspendu la nomination de John Allen à la tête des forces de l’Otan. A près de 59 ans, le général Allen devait succéder à l’amiral James Stavridis au printemps 2013, sous réserve de confirmation par le Sénat américain.

Où est le problème ?

Vue depuis la France, où l’on n’imagine pas une seconde le patron des RG démissionner pour une histoire de maîtresse, l’affaire paraît disproportionnée. Mais aux Etats-Unis, on ne plaisante pas avec l’infidélité. Bill Clinton, tout le monde s’en souvient, a frôlé l’impeachment pour ça. L’armée, en particulier, prend l’adultère très au sérieux. Le code militaire en vigueur aux Etats-Unis classe l’adultère comme un crime, car portant «atteinte à l’ordre» et venant jeter le discrédit sur l’ensemble des troupes (cf. l’article 134).

Dans le cas de Petraeus, cependant, il ne s’agit pas que de puritanisme. «Semblable comportement est inacceptable à la fois comme époux et comme patron d’une organisation telle que la nôtre», s’est-il excusé. Par ces termes, il place lui-même sa «faute» sur deux plans : celui des mœurs, et celui de la sécurité. A ce niveau de responsabilités, qui dit maîtresse (ou amant) dit fuites possibles. Risque de chantage, aussi. En l’état de l’enquête, rien ne permet de conclure que Petraeus a transmis des infos. Mais pour les Américains, David Petraeus, la tête d’une organisation détenant les informations les plus ultraconfidentielles qui soient, apparaît comme un homme qui a failli. Un homme qui s’est mis en position de faiblesse, et son organisation avec lui.

Leon Panetta, lui-même ancien patron de la CIA et actuel secrétaire à la Défense, a d’ailleurs commenté la démission de son successeur comme étant une «bonne décision» car «il est très important quand vous êtes directeur de la CIA, avec tous les défis que vous devez relever, que vous ayez avant toute chose une intégrité personnelle».

Pourquoi le calendrier pose question

D’après les éléments collectés par la presse, dont le New York Times, tout a débuté au début de l’été, quand le FBI a ouvert une enquête sur six mails anonymes de menace envoyés à Jill Kelley. Pourquoi l’affaire a-t-elle mis plusieurs mois à sortir ? Ce n’est en effet que le 6 novembre, jour de la réélection de Barack Obama, que le supérieur de David Petraeus, le directeur national du renseignement (DNI), James Clapper, a été mis au courant. La Maison Blanche l’a été le lendemain. Il n’en faut pas plus pour que certains flairent le complot. Mais complot orchestré par qui, pourquoi ?

Autre point troublant, que les républicains n’ont pas manqué de relever : la démission de Petraeus est intervenue juste avant l’ouverture, ce mardi, des auditions à huis clos prévues devant le Congrès sur l’attaque contre le consulat américain le 11 septembre à Benghazi, en Libye. La réaction de la CIA dans cette attaque a été mise en cause. A ce titre, David Petraeus devait témoigner. Ce sera finalement le directeur adjoint de l’agence, Michael Morell, qui ira à sa place. Reste que la commission du renseignement du Sénat américain va enquêter pour savoir pourquoi le FBI ne l’a pas informée de l’affaire Petraeus : «Nous aurions dû être informés, il s’agit de quelque chose qui aurait pu avoir un effet sur la sécurité nationale», a souligné sa présidente.

 Voir enfin:

Pourquoi l’adultère est-il un motif de démission aux États-Unis ?

Des responsables du FBI et de la CIA doivent faire le point mardi 13 novembre au Congrès sur l’affaire d’adultère qui a entraîné la démission surprise du patron de la CIA David Petraeus.

Les parlementaires veulent en savoir plus sur le calendrier de l’enquête, ses répercussions ou d’éventuelles atteintes à la sécurité nationale. La présidente de la commission du renseignement du Sénat américain, la démocrate Dianne Feinstein, a assuré que sa commission va enquêter pour savoir pourquoi le FBI n’a pas informé cette dernière de l’affaire Petraeus.

Le FBI a découvert la liaison du général avec Paula Broadwell en enquêtant sur les courriels de celle-ci à Jill Kelley, une amie de longue date de David Petraeus qui, se disant harcelée par Paula Broadwell, a demandé la protection du FBI. Analyse d’Olivier Richomme, maître de conférences en civilisation américaine à l’université Lyon 2.

« Les États-Unis sont perçus comme un pays puritain où l’adultère est un problème. L’adultère peut être considéré comme un motif suffisant de démission par les conservateurs, la frange des républicains la plus radicale sur les questions de société, religieuses et morales.

Mais si le responsable public fait ses aveux et son mea culpa, y compris devant le public, il peut s’en remettre assez facilement, même si c’est un républicain. Ce n’est que lorsque cela échappe au contrôle des protagonistes, que l’on cache des faits et qu’il y a une enquête que cela devient compliqué.

Pour les Américains, ce qui pose problème, c’est plus ce que l’on cache. En outre, le fait pour un responsable public de mentir ou de dissimuler une aventure extraconjugale va focaliser l’attention et être une source de discrédit politique. Même si les individus impliqués n’ont commis aucun délit, ni violé aucune loi, il est difficile de s’en remettre.

L’ombre de l’affaire Monica Lewinsky

C’est surtout cela que le général Petraeus a voulu éviter en offrant sa démission qui a été acceptée par Barack Obama. Il s’agit d’abord de ne pas donner aux républicains l’opportunité de créer un embarras politique en lançant des enquêtes, prendre les devants avant que la situation ne devienne ingérable.

Le fait que cette démission intervienne après l’élection présidentielle n’est pas anodin. Cette démission passera plus facilement dans le cadre du renouvellement prévu d’une grande partie des responsables de l’administration Obama avant le second mandat présidentiel qui commence en janvier.

L’administration Obama a toujours cherché à contrôler très étroitement sa communication et à éviter les scandales. Les démocrates n’ont pas oublié ce qui s’est passé pendant la présidence de Bill Clinton (NDLR : l’affaire Monica Lewinsky) et ne veulent pas prendre de risque avec ce genre de choses. »

RECUEILLI PAR FRANÇOIS D’ALANÇON

4 Responses to Election américaine 2012/Affaire Petraeus: Attention, un scandale peut en cacher un autre (The real scandal within the scandal: Obama’s still in the secret detention business)

  1. […] avait été dit et répété (et tant critiqué dans l’Administration précédente), la CIA du plus rapide prix Nobel de l’histoire est toujours dans le « secret detention business » […]

    J'aime

  2. […] avait été dit et répété (et tant critiqué dans l’Administration précédente), la CIA du plus rapide prix Nobel de l’histoire est toujours dans le « secret detention business » […]

    J'aime

Répondre

Entrez vos coordonnées ci-dessous ou cliquez sur une icône pour vous connecter:

Logo WordPress.com

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte WordPress.com. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Photo Google

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Google. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Image Twitter

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Twitter. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Photo Facebook

Vous commentez à l'aide de votre compte Facebook. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Connexion à %s

Ce site utilise Akismet pour réduire les indésirables. En savoir plus sur la façon dont les données de vos commentaires sont traitées.

%d blogueurs aiment cette page :