Viewing conflicts through the eye of Counterinsurgency COIN – Since 2007
By KENDALL BREITMAN 3/16/15 3:28 PM EDT
The White House confirmed Monday that the Obama administration is turning to retired Gen. David Petraeus for advice on how to deal with the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). “[Petraeus] is, I think, legitimately regarded as an expert when it comes to the security situation in Iraq, so I think it makes a lot of sense for senior administration officials to, on occasion, consult him for advice,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said during Monday’s press briefing.
Newsweek reported Saturday that the administration has been consulting with the former CIA director and CENTCOM chief, even after his recent legal troubles surrounding his sharing of classified information with Paula Broadwell, his biographer and lover at the time.
The White House stood by its arrangement with Petraeus Monday, but did not address allegations in Newsweek that it had arranged special treatment for Petraeus.
“General Petraeus is somebody who served for a number of years in Iraq, he commanded a large number of American military personnel in that country,” Earnest said. “Over that time he developed strong relationships with some of his Iraqi counterparts and with some of Iraq’s political leaders.” Petraeus recently struck a plea deal with prosecutors, in which he admitted to storing classified information in his unsecured home even after he stopped serving as CIA director. Some of this information was shared with Broadwell. As part of the plea deal, he was charged with one count of mishandling classified information and ordered to pay a $40,000 fine. Asked whether the White House is taking security precautions when communicating with Petraeus in light of his legal problems, Earnest answered, “Not that I’m aware of.” Earnest did not say, and was not asked, whether Petraeus — who has been stripped of his security clearance — has had any access to classified information.
Kendall Breitman firstname.lastname@example.org @KendallBreitman