Some fun and a quick thought for the weekend.
Today's Congressional hearings with David Petraeus, former head of the CIA, were a Rorschach test: conspiratorial minded Republicans heard what they wanted to hear about a non-scandal and non-coverup in Libya; other more reasonable folks heard a story about a chaotic, kinetic, and (then) developing attack on the U.S. Consulate/CIA listening station that was--and is--still being sorted out.
The Petraeus-Paula Broadwell-Jill Kelley scandal is like a bad Lifetime TV movie. There is sex, betrayal, high society living, greed, debt, wannabe celebrities, and powerful people. I believe in Occam's razor where the simplest explanation is usually the most correct one. I am also a fan of a good conspiracy theory. As much as the Tea Party GOP would like it to be, the Petraeus imbroglio is not about Obama, blackmail, or a cover-up regarding Libya.
This whole matter will eventually be exposed as a twisted tale of sex, alpha male indulgence, suburban debauchery, and Tampa's underground swinger and sex party scene.
Some data points:
1. Jilly Kelley was an informal "social liaison" (a position which does not exist, and few have heard of) to Central Command and the Joint Special Operations Command in Tampa. She relished this role and was given special perks and access including hanging out with some of the country's most elite warriors and their superstar leaders like Petraeus. Kelley even parachuted with members of the United States Special Forces as part of an "outreach" program to the local Tampa community.
2. The emails between Jill Kelley and General John Allen have been described as phone sex--extremely lurid and titillating. This relationship had been going on for some time.
3. Kelley and her husband were socialites who also had a thing for military types. They ran up significant debts through a cancer "charity." In reality, the charity was used to finance these private parties and to maintain the appearance that Kelley and her husband were rich socialites. Kelley came from a relatively modest background. However, she was able to cultivate and maintain the interest of powerful men such as Petreaus and Allen. How was this possible? What was she offering them?
4. Kelly's charity appears to be a slush fund. This conclusion leads to some obvious questions. Were those monies used to finance off the books activities for generals and the special ops community? Kelley was also an informal go between and "ambassador" to several Middle Eastern countries. What else was she coordinating (or used as a courier and coordinator for)? What were these activities? Sex, drugs, semi-official covert operations, secretive diplomatic matters, etc.?
5. Jill Kelley was the focal point and nexus of the relationship between Petreaus, General Allen, and other figures in this still emerging scandal. Paula Broadwell, Petreaus' mistress, and the "shirtless" FBI agent, were also part of the Tampa social scene and had connections to Kelley.
6. Tampa is known for its sex clubs and swinger's parties. Undoubtedly, many of these clubs and parties cater to the large number of military personnel in the area. Every subculture has its own hierarchy. The top brass would have their own preferred clubs. The special operations soldiers likely had venues which they prefer and attend more than others.
7. In all, my instincts tell me that the real scandal and anxiety for Petreaus and all parties involved is that the "debauched" underground sex subculture of the military brass, generally (they are powerful folks; powerful folks tend to enjoy a certain "variety" in their sex lives) and of the Joint Special Operative Command in Tampa, specifically will be exposed to the public.
8. Some questions remain, however. Was the shirtless FBI agent part of Kelley's party scene? Did he want Jill Kelley to invite him to the private sex parties which she in theory coordinated, hosted, or was aware of? If other folks connect the dots in what is obviously a far more lurid and interesting story than has been revealed so far, will the media go with the story? Or will they be under pressure to hush up a scandal that would reveal the sexual habits of America's most feted generals and superhero-like soldiers?