As the resignation and affair of military hero Gen. David Petraeus continues to send shockwaves through political and military circles, the scandal incited a brief argument on “The View” between co-hosts Barbara Walters and conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who took the opportunity to throw out conspiracy theories about the timing of the Petraeus announcement.
Hasselbeck called the timing of the scandal “fishy,” insinuating that the Obama administration somehow is using the news of Petraeus’ affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell as a way of deflecting attention away from the criticism of the administration’s response to the attack that killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi.
Petreaus succumbed to temptation in the form of his lovely biographer, former Army officer and fellow West Point graduate Broadwell, who spent a considerable amount of time “embedded” with Petraeus working on her book, “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus” and whose relationship with Petraeus was viewed as inappropriate by several of the officers around him, according to published reports. Broadwell, 40, is married to a doctor and lives in Charlotte with her husband and two kids.
On “The View,” Hasselbeck had the chance to inform a mainstream audience of the conspiracy theories bouncing around right-wing Internet sites and radio shows.
“There are a ton of conspiracy theories out there right now. One is that this is a Benghazi cover-up and [the Obama administration] didn’t want Petraeus to testify. I’m just saying what’s out there,” Hasselbeck said while you could hear groans from her co-hosts in the background. “Is the timing fishy? Sure, and look.”
“No, I don’t think it’s fishy,” Walters said, interrupting Hasselbeck.
Over the weekend, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said there was “absolutely not” a link between the resignation of Petraeus and the Sept. 11 attack on the United States mission in Benghazi, Libya—though Feinstein expressed frustration that her committee was not informed of the matter before it went public.
Reuters quoted a former spokesman for Petraeus during his time as an Army general as saying the affair with Broadwell began by mutual consent after Petraeus retired from the Army in August 2011 to lead the CIA.
The FBI investigation began last summer after it received a report from a woman who said she had received threatening e-mails ultimately traced to Broadwell. The woman, whom The Associated Press first identified Sunday as 37-year-old Jill Kelley. The Tampa, Florida resident and volunteer social liaison with military families at MacDill Air Force Base is a friend of Petraeus and his wife, Holly. The e-mails related to Kelley’s relationship with Ms. Broadwell, according to government officials, the New York Times reported.
In a statement released Sunday night, Kelley and her husband, Dr. Scott Kelley, did not address their involvement in the investigation that ultimately led to Petraeus’ resignation. The Kelleys said they had been friends with Mr. Petraeus “and his family for over five years.”
“We respect his and his family’s privacy, and want the same for us and our three children,” the family said in a statement.
“A man who served our nation in a way probably none of us every could have, possibly a fall from grace, but now we’re not talking about the veterans in our country that need us the most,” she said, asking viewers to go on the show’s website to learn how to help veterans.
“Of course we should,” Walters responded. “But one thing has nothing to do with the other.”