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Batshit Crazy OW Brings Down CIA Director

So guys, did you see this? In the Washington Post today it appears that CIA director (and retired general) David Petraeus had to step down when his wing nut mistress began sending threatening letters to a woman she suspected was also an OW. The recipient (it’s unclear if she also was having an affair with Petraeus or the wing nut just thought she was) was so freaked out, she informed the FBI. The FBI traced the emails, then — spooking the spooks here! — hacked into Petraeus’ email and found out about his affair with Ms. Wing Nut.

The wing nut’s name is Paula Broadwell — Petraeus’ biographer. (What, is this a trend among OW? Rielle Hunter was also a video “biographer” of John Edwards.) Of course she’s married too, with children.

I know, big yawn, big shrug…. sex scandal in Washington. I guess what blows me away here is that it’s not your run of the mill Congressman getting blow jobs in bathroom stalls — it’s the frigging DIRECTOR of the CIA. The grand Poobah of spooks! I can’t even imagine the level of security clearance you have to have to be him. Of course, there is something fitting about the agency of espionage and secrecy being tied to an adultery scandal. Still, it’s a master stroke of narcissism.

Have you ever had a security clearance? I had one once, as a writer at the Defense Department. It was a Top Secret clearance, which meant I could work in an “open” facility where top secret documents were kept. They take ages to get, because they research everything in your life. You have to know everywhere you’ve lived, with no gaps, who your neighbors were, every time you’ve left the country, foreigners you associate with, your credit score, your love life. It’s all up for discussion.

Top Secret is actually a pretty ordinary clearance by Washington standards. A lot of people who work for defense contractors need them — but my point is — you cannot have ANYTHING in your life that someone could blackmail you with. No money troubles, no college dope smoking, and absolutely no extramarital affairs. You cannot be compromised.

So to be fucking around as the CIA director on company time using company resources — is beyond ballsy. It’s the sort of arrogance and magical thinking that only personality disorders possess.

Oh — and Broadwell! Did she really think she was SPECIAL? She needed to scare away the competition, because what? A wife wasn’t enough of an obstacle? It’s okay to fuck around on the wife… but the other other woman needs death threats?

This one is going to be interesting to watch. A good synopsis of the affair is here on the Washington Post social reader page of Facebook.

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  • There’s another, rather interesting, twist to the story: Broadwell’s husband seems to have written to the NYT’s version of an agony aunt, asking for advice on a wife having an affair with a high profile and very well known person. Whomever dispenses advice gave crap advice but did suggest that the intent of the letter was to give a very public message.

    One part of this story that irritates the fuck out of me are the comments of the wife. Holly P. is 63 years old. She’s grey, a bit stout, saggy and yeah, she looks like a 63 year old woman who’s been married for 30+ years.

    But oh my, so many people are commenting that ‘of course he cheated on her, have you seen her?’. Yes, because a 63 year old woman doesn’t look like someone nearly 30 years her junior. Incredible, eh?

    • Meh. Politically powerful men having affairs. Washington is where narcicissts go to play. Nothing surprises me about the men and women there. Strike that, what surprises me is when those BSs actually leave the cheaters. These are political marriages first and foremost, I think. I mean, look at Hillary Clinton and Bill.

      I hope both BSs dump the cheaters.

      I bet neither of them will.

      Bad form for the other woman to go after the other other woman. Evidently there is no honor amongst thieves. But the general is the batshit crazy egomaniac here. Really? Put yourself in such a position with respect to being able to be blackmailed. God complex for sure. Bet he is feeling less godlike right about now.

      • Bad form indeed. Oh, and I totally agree about the God complex.

        I call Broadwell batshit crazy OW because she went all bunny boiler with the threats. Whereas Petraeus just appears to be your usual narcissist cake eater.

        His poor wife. She seems like a class act from what I’ve read. Doing a lot for military charities. At 63, she’ll probably stick with him, would be my bet.

        I don’t think politicians and other powerful sorts are unique in the R department. A lot of people stick it out after infidelity.

      • I wouldn*t be surprised if the husband dumped the lady cheater but the General’s wife, I think, will stay put…although I’d love for her to toss his cheating ass out, particularly since it appears there is another OW hovering on the horizon.

        then I hope she gets to the salon, spruces herself up a bit, and shows him just what she’s made of.

  • Well, I’m sure people think it, but to SAY it? Yes, it’s disgusting — the idea that well, of course men (especially men of status) can’t be expected to be faithful. The affront to grow old! What, is Petraeus Dorian Grey?

    That’s interesting about the NYT — I’ll go check that out. Who did Broadwell’s husband write to? There’s only the manners guy and the ethicist on Sunday. God, I hope he dumps her. She sounds like quite the arrogant nitwit. The Post reports people on his staff were “underwhelmed” with her credentials, weirded out by her, and that she “flaunted” her access — posting her adventures on FaceBook.

  • This in the Washington Post this morning:

    Her neighbors describe the Broadwells as an idyllic family: The New York Daily News caught up with a few of Broadwell’s neighbors, who suggested they had seen nothing amiss:

    “She is a very smart and accomplished woman. I’m proud to have her as a neighbor,” Ed Williams, 70, told the paper. “If you weigh her life in the balance, she’s a good person. Life will go on. Sometimes people make mistakes that pain their lives.”
    Another said: “They have adorable children. They are an idyllic family. They are the perfect picture of happiness.”

    I feel bad for Broadwell’s husband. He’s got to wonder why his “perfect picture of happiness” and adorable children weren’t enough.

  • Hi CL,

    I was wondering what your thoughts were about this as soon as I heard the news. I guess that is the perfect follow up to your entry about cheating in the age of technology. You would have thought the the CIA director would know better than to give email access to his Side piece or even use his government email for his extra curricular activity. I also have the feeling that this is not his first time. The nerve of some people. His wife does not deserve this. I hope she takes half of his military pension and be with someone who loves her for her.

    • I have a feeling that this is not the forst time for either of them. This woman is every bit the predator that the general is. check her out on youtube.She wreaks NPD.

  • Chasing… I had the same thought when I saw this last week… “wonder if CL will write about this”. I agree that nothing out of a town full of egomaniacs surprises me. I feel terrible for the public attention that will be focused on the reaction of the BS’s… This shit is hard enough to work through in my own life… I can’t imagine having a whole country watching and judging what I decide to do…

    Security clearance procedures are intense… but they are usually only done once, during the hiring process. People think that once they are IN they can let their ethics fall behind. I see it quite a bit in law enforcement. People think they are golden… until they decide to go work for a different agency. Then all that stuff comes up and they 1. don’t get the new job they were hoping for AND the hiring agency tells their current employer about their “new activity” and they get fired from their current job. CAREER OVER!

    I am pretty giddy that this asshat’s “transgression(s)” (cuz you know this wasn’t his first time) cost him his fancy job. And really…. using your work email to mess around… when you work for a system that SPIES on everyone. Come on. But since when do Narcissists actually think THEY might get caught?

    • I corrected myself here on this post. It’s unclear if he ever used his work email. To me weirder still is he wrote about government stuff using his personal gmail account, which appears to be the one the government hacked into. They were worried that someone else had hacked into it — but no, all the torrid sex talk was Petraeus’.

      You know, dubbed him “Betray Us” — which really takes on an extra significance about now.

  • Hmmm….alleged other other woman named as Jill Kelley, State Department’s liaison to the military’s Joint Special Operations Command.


  • well,if you wacth thi woman on the daily show, you might reach the conclusion that she is a somatic narcissist Not sure about the general, but he is ,probably, NPD, as well.

  • I have to admit that I hate the double standard. “Betray us” is also the OM (Other Man) in this mess. This woman’s husband and her 2 kids have also being betrayed and I hate that one is talking about that but only about the General’s wive and the general’s “testosterone” that may have led to his cheating. Face palm

  • That is true, and says a lot.No one seems to be mentioning her husband as a victim, as well. The world has a lot of catching up to do as regards cheating women and their victims.

  • WTF indeed! There is so much more here that will come out in the wash. Wow. I still believe that this is somehow political.

    I find it all to be really just hysterical, honestly. Not, obviously, for the poor wife and the various husbands involved in this. But this is such a cluster and I am just shaking my head. Why the hell do people even bother to get married anymore?

    In my mind, the person who appears to be totally bonkers and a major narcissist is this Jill Kelley person. She reports emails that are supposedly threatening, but they actually really aren’t threatening. They are harrassing at most and really more like juvenile nonsense. The Paula chick was stupid to send them in the first place, but I suppose she was feeling (and I know this is ironic) betrayed by him. So she lashed out at the person who she perceived to be a threat (or a potential threat) — the other, other woman. She should have just walked away from her married lovah. But I suppose she felt she was in love and was going to put up a fight for “her” man. Snort.


    Petraeus did the right thing by stepping down. It is a shame he had to do that over a personal matter, but the nature of his position is such that it could cause some risk in terms of security. But stepping down removes him from the crazy, a little bit, or at least mitigates it for him, and now it will become all about the various other women and the shirtless wonder at the FBI. Paula would be smart to just keep her head down and not make too many public comments. Jill Kelley seems to want to be in the limelight — despite her protestations to the contrary.

    My eyes are rolling so far back into my head I can see what happened in my past lives.

  • LOL! Dwarf bowling! haha. OMG! I totally snorted outloud at work.

    Evidently, according to varied online resources, slut-shaming is to do with name calling women who behave, sexually, in ways that goes against what is considered “appropriate” for women. This includes having multiple sexual partners, having too many sexual partners, dressing “too provocatively”, having sex outside the boundaries of marriage — as in pre-marital sex — having adulterous sex. Bottom line, it is about making a woman feel shameful or inferior for doing something that seems to go against the grain of what most members of society believe a woman should do.

    How, now?

    I really liked the blog post that nomar linked to, I thought the whole: Knowledge is power and cheating is withholding knowledge (ergo power) from a partner so he or she is incapable of making good-for-her decisions. Totally on board with that. Because, as she states, the core tenet of feminism is about equality. I don’t want preferential treatment as a woman, I want equal treatment. Likewise, I don’t want men to be favored or opressed, I want them to be treated equally.

    With equality in mind, I’m not sure I think it is fair to slut shame anyone, though. Not because I think that what either of these women did was good. On the contrary, it is really self-defeating behavior. Also, intensely stupid and hypocritical to send emails to the other other woman. Ridiculous and illogical. But this is not a story of just women, and that’s definitely the path it is taking everywhere online. This is a story of men too. What would be the equivalent of “slut shaming” Petraeus, or now this other General who is in the mix, or, for that matter, the wack-o who sent topless photos of himself?

    By focusing on the other women, and the female BS (which, really, is the only BS we’ve heard about, right? The role of the betrayed husbands is being downplayed here), this entire story is becoming about the bad things women get up to when they are sluts. They are unruly women and they require shaming so as to put them back into place. And then there is poor Holly who, as you pointed out above CL, has been patted and pitied because, well, she’s a bit long in the tooth and has let herself go a bit. So either there is bashing of women or patronizing of women. And the men?

    Um. Well, they’ve made some regrettable errors in judgement and behaved in a manner unbecoming. They’ve made mistakes. Oopsies Daisies. But no one is attacking them for their sexuality. In fact one of the articles I read recently goes into detail about how a pretty face can be a man’s ticket to increased risk-taking behavior, and since these guys are so powerful and *oooohhh* full of authority, they are born risk-takers anyway. It is just what they do. Like, genetically and stuff. Whereas women who do risky unruly things are just, well, risky and unruly and sluts. Sheesh.

    Attacking women by calling them sluts is attacking them on a sex/body basis and that’s misogynistic and it is as old as time. The best is women who do this to women, because of course it makes us feel better and superior if we seem to rise above the nature of our bodies, bowing to the patriarchal ideal that women should not be sexual. And why? Well of course because sexual women are scary and uncontrollable forces of nature.

    Witch hunt much? (and yes, now I’ll cop to the fact that I’m a gender historian by vocation if not practice, so I do have strong feelings on this subject)

    I think all those involved are equally culpable and subject to the title “nitwit” and “really reckless adrenaline junkies” but I’m going to have to say that slut shaming is just not the feminist way to go here. Simply because there is no way to equally attack a man who is a party to the same damn thing.

  • Since when do men not get attacked for this behavior? Tiger Woods? Bill Clinton? Spitzer et al?
    Here’s my take: people’s view on the sanctity of sex lay along a continuum. Some folks,men and women, view it as a mere pleasurable recreational activity. Others , hold it more sacred.
    I don’t think that these days, promiscuous women Pre criticized any more than promiscuous men. people are finally figuring out that women have sexual appetites that are equal to or greater than men.
    I’ve seen this firsthand. In college, I lived in a house with six women and they were every bit as active as the men. And, no one slammed them for it.
    All the cheaters involved in this scandal are people with little to no integrity.

    • Yes sure, Arnold. But they don’t call men sluts or attack them on a sexual level, which is what they reduce the other womrn to…just their sexual nature. The men make errors in judgement. Boys will be boys. Yhere is no slut shaming rhetoric revolving around then men.

      • Of course there is, Kristina. These guys were described as loathsome hounds by many. And, what about all the glamorization of cougars etc.
        Look, I think each gender is sensitive to different things. As a man, I can tell you that I and many of my friends thought the behavior of these cheating men was despicable, slut like, all the same things that you feel are said about women.
        We must run in different circles and read different things. But, I read many criticism of the men’s behavior as disgusting etc.
        Think back on our Bridges discussion. A lot of folks felt that Meryl was noble and long suffering etc. Yet, she was banging a guy she barely knew.
        We will have to agree to disagree on this one. I do not see society condoning or explaining away the men’s behavior any more than I do women’s.

        • Loathesome, yes, Arnold — because the guys made bad decisions that affected their professional life; it is all about “what was he thinking? Look at what this does to his job; and his poor wife, what bad choices he made.”

          And then today, I head this gem: The generals were “ensnared by the two women”. HAHAHAHA. Yes. Ensnared. By the temptresses. Who used their promiscuous sexuality to lure them into an affair. Because overly sexual women are sexually tempting and ensnaring.

          The difference is precisely that. The focus on the women is the sexuality, and their temptress natures, they are being objectified. The criticisms of the men are on their poor decision making.

          So… the women weren’t thinking – they were just operating based on their sexual natures and were unruly and wild because their sexuality was unchecked. The men made bad choices. The criticisms of the women are rooted in their bodies and what they do with their bodies “slut” the criticism of the men are what they did with their minds: “Bad decision making, reckless decision making.”

          And it is all about HIS career. He had to resign, he has lost his position of prominence. But what about HER career? She’s a PhD. student, how does this affect that? I mean, I understand that he’s on her committee. Anyone who has been through the PhD. (or even Master’s) process will know how totally fucked up that is and the implications on her ability to move ahead in her field. Her career is at stake too; though she’ll be able to write one hell of a book when all is said and done, so I’m not too upset on her behalf. Haha.

          Bottom line: They both did the same thing. They both had a relationship outside of their marriages, but the focus is on what she did with her body and what he did with his mind.

          So for me, slut shaming is anti-feminist. They are both idiots and they are both risk takers and they both made bad decisions. and the were both sexually unfaithful to their spouses. But the sex is almost besides the point.

          • Kristina,

            Reading a very old post of yours on Chump Lady from November 2012. Don’t know what happened to you but, I hope you’re doing well. Your feminist history and rhetoric are a welcome addition to the cheating vs. chump conversation.

  • Interesting comment, Kristina. I appreciated the point that women who are sexually active and/or involved in affairs are sometimes labelled as slutty, while men are considered manly (testosterone fueled-what could they do.)

    There was an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review about narcissism in leadership. I don’t know if the General has NPD or not. I think people should be careful about throwing labels around.

    • I guess I don’t see women being criticized for promiscuity any more than I do men. Maybe it is a regional thing, but I think may of us are harkening back to decades ago when that may have been the case. Now, I just do not see it. Many TV shows glamorize and praise female promiscuity.

  • Again, I think you are selectively reading, Krisitna. I see just as much criticism of men and their unbridled sexuality etc as I do women. There just is not a double standard at play here, IMO.
    For as long as I can remember, some men were criticized for being “pigs” and it had nothing to do with their jobs or their lack of judgement. I think that if you really searched, you’d find just as much criticism of these guys for the sexual appetites as you do the women.

  • I don’t agree with your point, Kristina.

    How many of us just rolled our eyes and thought, “There they go again, thinking with the wrong head? Men are so stupid, they’re willing to lose it all for a fuck.”

    I mean, really.

    The men are being punished, too. Idiot-shamed. Dick-head-shamed.

  • Nobody cares that women have sex any more. Women have sex. It’s not the 60’s any more.

    Count me as a BS who thinks Mrs. Petraeus should step up her game a little bit, though–as un-PC as that makes me. Her look just screams, “I’m done having sex with my husband.” I don’t think that’s fair to do to a man. Would it stop a narcissist from cheating? No. Could it be that he is a serious asshole and she really doesn’t want to have sex with him? Sure. If that’s the case she should dump him and not pretend that she’s happily married and then act all shocked when he acts like an assshole.

    • What I especially liked about this site is the focus on kindness toward the BS. When we start criticizing a BS because we don’t share her style, it becomes an unpleasant place to be. Can we keep it free of personal attacks? Mrs. Petraeus sounds like she has spent her adult life taking care of others–her family (moving over 20 times) and in her work with veterans and military families. That’s what’s important about a person–that they spent their life’s work helping others not that they dress in a way others find stylish.

      I’m tall, thin and my ex-spouse told me frequently how beautiful he thought I was. But it didn’t matter how I dressed, looked or that he admired the work I do. He cheated on me. Over and over with much younger women and in the most disgusting way. It’s devastated me. I’m crawling my way out of the hole and working hard to restore my self esteem and how I feel about my looks and body and my age.

      Those of us who have been there should be kinder.

      • I agree. Looks has nothing to do with cheating. The other women in my husbands affair was not the type he claimed to be attracted to. He always liked small slim athletic women and his OW was over weight with rather large derriere. I guess he wanted variety.

        It is odd too that after learning of the affair during our first reconciliations some male friends who had not seen us in while saw us at a party and called him to chat and during that chat they made a point of saying how great I looked. My husband commented on it somewhat sheepishly after the call. So, yes, the spouses looks has little to do with cheating.

    • Stephanie, we are even, because I think this is an absurd thing for you to say: it is not fair to do to a man.

      Haha. Really? So if she has done something unfair by aging and allowing herself to be somewhat unpolished or whateverr, then it is understandable that he cheats? Hmm. Not so much.

      If he felt it was unfair to him that she was not a Barbie doll, then he should have left her, not cheated. Cheating is never the fault of a BS and you are clearly suggesting that sometimes it could be.

  • My advice to Mrs. Petraeus would be from a point of kindness. There is nothing wrong and everything right about advising her to focus on herself for once.

    Why didn’t SHE dump HIM instead of putting up a giant “Don’t touch me” sign?

    And, no, as I elaborated, I do not condone cheating. I myself dumped a cheater and stepped up my game and boy, does it feel good to watch him eat his own heart out. Too, my xH told me that at least one other man told him before he left me how lucky he was to have me–and still he cheated. So I am more than clear that being a sexy wife is not insurance against cheating, particularly when an aggressive female enters the picture and seduces a weak man.

    But I stand by my sentiment, and I would advise Mrs. Petraeus to take inventory of her image. Unless she doesn’t want to. Entirely up to her.

  • It is hysterical how some in the press are commenting on petraus’s wife’s appearance. I mean petraues for all his physical training is too skinny, has no muscle tone, is all bent over in posture and does the comb over. He is one ugly dude, IMO.

    But what about Broadwell, the chick looks like a man, IMO. She’s at least injecting growth hormone, based on her over developed forehead and large lips and jaw. Growth hormone can make facial features course and charichaturish looking, or she may just have naturally high levels of testosterone. She is as ugly as Petraues, IMO, both in appearance and in personality.

  • It’s almost as if there is a consensus that his wife is unattractive. And, Stepahnie has made the assumption that she “put up a huge stop sign” to having sex. We know no such thing.
    Who says she is not attractive(his wife)? This is subjective adn there is really no corrcet way to look attractive. For all we know she is a dynamo in bed.
    And, sara is right. The man has little muscle. Like many older endurance athletes, it looks like he neglected to weight train, as is neccessary with aging to maintain vigor and bulk.
    But, back on my soapbox about the alleged double standard which tacitly condones promiscuity in men but not in women. I think that has long since past, and the genders are treated equaly in this area.
    Most of the women I have dated have been much more forward in pushing the sex deal early. They do not seem to be concerned about appearances in that rearg, at all.

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