A Smarter Sequester

The GOP’s funding bill that will keep the government from shutting down on March 27 moves about $10.4 billion to the Pentagon’s operations and maintenance account.  The money will be shifted from personnel, R & D, and equipment procurement.

The bill also provides $2 billion more than last year for diplomatic security, along with $40 million more for fighting wildfires, $363 million more for nuclear security, $129 million more for FBI salaries.   These increases are achieved by moving money around.  The bill doesn’t increase funding for Customs and Border Protection from last year, but requires them to keep current staffing and detention beds.

The GOP is doing full appropriations bill for both DoD and Veterans Affairs, rather than just a continuing resolution which works out better for them.  Indeed, defense contractors have been more upset about dealing with a continuing resolution that dealing with the sequester.

The GOP bill fixes some of the arbitrariness of the sequester and makes the cuts more rational.

For more, see “House government funding bill seeks to soften sequester’s blow,” Erik Wasson and Jeremy Herb, The Hill

Petraeus Brought Down in Palace Coup

According to a new book coming out Tuesday, senior CIA officials went after David Petraeus to make sure that the FBI found out about his affair with Paula Broadwell so that Petraeus would have to resign.  These officials were unhappy with how Petraeus was running the agency, specifically that he was too focused on paramilitary operations (like drone strikes) at the expense of intelligence gathering and analysis.  His military management style at a political agency also brought him many enemies who wanted him gone.

The authors of the book, Brandon Webb and Jack Murphy, discovered the Petraeus information while researching their book on the Benghazi terrorist attack, BenghaziThe Definitive Report.

As for Benghazi, they say the attacks on the Benghazi mission and CIA annex that left four Americans dead were retaliation for U. S. raids against Islamic terrorist extremists in Libya.  They claim that neither Petraeus nor Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, who died in the attacks, was aware of our ongoing military operations using special ops forces.  They say John Brennan, Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser and now his nominee to head the CIA, was running these operations from the White House outside the traditional command structure, and that the State Department and the CIA didn’t know about them.

It will be interesting to see if this book has any impact on Brennan’s nomination and what Petraeus’ response is.

And Gloria Allred Joins the Party!

I guess we should have seen this coming — Gloria Allred is now representing Jill Kelley’s twin sister, Natalie Khawam, in the Paula Broadwell-Gen. Petraeus-Gen. Allen scandal.

Both Gen. Petraeus and Gen. Allen wrote letters in support of Natalie in her custody battle with her ex, Grayson Wolfe, or, as I call him, Gray Wolfe.

Sicko Paula Broadwell Threatened to Make Jill Kelley Go Away

The New York Daily News reports that Jill Kelley believed Paula Broadwell was threatening her life:

The menacing emails sent by David Petraeus’ ex-mistress to a Florida socialite promised to make the apparent rival “go away” and boasted of her friends in high places, the Daily News has learned.

The notes Paula Broadwell sent to Jill Kelley were far more sinister than previously reported and seemed like the rantings of someone “clearly unhinged,” a close friend of Kelley told The News Monday.
“This wasn’t just a catfight. Any normal person who got emails like that would have immediately called the police,” said the friend.
She said Kelley read her the emails when she called, panic-stricken and seeking advice in the days before the scandal became a stunning public spectacle and led to Petraeus’ resignation as CIA director.
The friend, who did not want to be identified, said Kelley saw the emails as death threats, specifically one in which Broadwell vowed to “make you go away.”
In other emails, Broadwell, a West Point graduate, touted her military background in a threatening manner and boasted of having “powerful” friends.
“This wasn’t just a case of cyber-bullying,” the friend said. “(Kelley) was scared for her life. She had reason to be. These emails are the real thing. When she read them to me, I literally had the shivers.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/broadwell-emails-kelley-sinister-previously-reported-article-1.1204956#ixzz2Cn8THTAA

Paula Broadwell Made Up Mission from Gen. McChrystal

WaPo had an interesting Paula Broadwell story today.*

She was kicked out of her Ph.D. program at Harvard in 2007, which had to be devastating for someone as hard-charging and ambitious as she is.

In 2009 she tried to put together a panel of counterinsurgency experts, claiming that Gen. Stanley McChrystal, then the top commander in Afghanistan, had tasked her with assembling experts to review his strategy.  But McChrystal never asked her to do this, she just made it up.

She was determined to stand out and make a name for herself.   Be careful what you wish for.


* “Paula Broadwell’s drive and resilience hit obstacles,” Greg Jaffe and Anne Gearan

Jill Kelley Had Phony Cancer Charity

Jill Kelley is the Tampa woman who went to the FBI about harrassing emails that turned out to be from Gen. Petraeus’ mistress Paula Broadwell.  She is now involved in an investigation of top Afghaniston commander Gen. Allen because of 20,000 to 30,000 pages of emails between Kelley and Allen in the last couple of years.

Now HuffPo reports that Kelley and her husband, who is a surgeon, had a phony cancer charity.  They took in about $160,000, spent it on meals, entertainment, travel, and lawyers, and then declared the charity bankrupt in 2007.

Kelley and her husband have been in financial trouble recently, with threatened foreclosures on two properties and lawsuits for unpaid credit card bills.

Jill Kelley’s twin sister Natalie was an officer with the cancer charity.  Natalie filed for bankruptcy last April with $3.6 million in liabilities.

OK, Now My Head Is Going To Explode

Now the Pentagon says that it is investigating the commander who succeeded Gen. Petraeus in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, for “inappropriate communications” with Jill Kelley, the woman who complained to the FBI about threatening emails that turned out to be from Petraeus’ mistress, Paula Broadwell.

I think the word we’re looking for here is “Byzantine.”

Whistle-Blower Revealed

We know now that the FBI whistle-blower in the Petraeus case is a friend of Jill Kelley, whom she contacted about the disturbing emails she received from Paula Broadwell.

He became “obsessed” with the case and was barred from any involvement with it, although he was not directly involved in the investigation, which had been turned over to cyber crimes.  Worried that nothing would come of the investigation, he went to GOP Congressman David Reichert, who went to Eric Cantor.
The whistle-blower himself has been investigated for sending shirtless pictures of himself to Jill Kelley at some point before the Petraeus investigation.





Did Mitt Know But Not Obama?

It seems as if but for the FBI whistle-blower who went to GOP Congressman Dave Reichert, who in turn went to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, David Petraeus might still be Director of the CIA.

The story raises questions not just of who knew what when, but who didnt know and who should have known, of why choices were made to tell certain people, but not others.

Why did Reichert go to Cantor and not Speaker of the House John Boehner?  Why didn’t Cantor go to his boss Boehner and/or the intelligence committee?

Cantor says that he didn’t tell anyone other than FBI Director Mueller.  Of course, Mueller already knew, but now he had to deal with the fact that the super-ambitious Cantor — who wishes neither Boehner nor Obama well — also knew and could speak publicly at any time.

But did Cantor tell anyone at Mitt’s campaign?  Could it be that Mitt knew before Obama did?  And given that Eric Holder knew last summer, is it possible that no one at the White House knew?  Did the knowledge go up from Mueller to Holder and stop there?

GOP officials and conservative media have been questioning the timing of the release right after the election and right before Petraeus was to testify to Congress about Benghazi.

Release before the election wouldn’t have helped Mitt, it would have just taken more attention away from Mitt’s campaign.  Petraeus was popular among Republicans, so a scandal involving him wouldn’t have tainted Obama, the way a scandal involving a more equivocal figure, say Eric Holder, would have.

As for Benghazi, there’s no reason Petraeus can’t still testify, and I expect he will, just not this week.

The story also raises questions of when a whistle-blower is truly a whistle-blower and when he or she is just being insubordinate and “going rogue” by refusing to accept a superior’s reasonable judgment.   I’m not sure that this person uncovered any corruption or criminal activity that justified going outside normal channels to Cantor.

I think the FBI had concluded that Petraeus hadn’t breached national security and hadn’t committed any crime, so they were going to leave him alone.  Enter the whistle-blower and Eric Cantor.

As You’d Expect, Holder Knew

Like me, you’ve probably been wondering when Attorney General Eric Holder learned about the FBI investigation that uncovered Gen. Petraeus’ affair.  He found out late this summer.

So when Eric Cantor went to FBI Director Mueller with the FBI whistle-blower in October, Mueller’s boss Holder already knew, so I assume Cantor wasn’t giving Mueller new info, he was telling him, “I know what you know, and if you don’t get it out, I will.”