Part Three of an EXCLUSIVE Ten Part Series Only Found on THE HEYMAN HUSTLE!
Former CIA Director David Petraeus’ reputation took another hit on Wednesday with a front page story in The Washington Post detailing the extraordinary access he granted to two civilian, neo-conservative analysts when he was the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.
It just keeps getting worse and worse for the General, doesn't it?
Frederick Kagan and his wife Kimberly were both working for well known conservative think tanks in Washington DC, pushing for a more hawkish United States foreign policy. In 2010, the pair left for nearly a year to work for General Petraeus in Afghanistan, where they were reportedly given top-level security clearances that allowed them to read classified intelligence reports and participate in senior-level strategy sessions.
“The four-star general made the Kagans de facto senior advisers, a status that afforded them numerous private meetings in his office, priority travel across the war zone and the ability to read highly secretive transcripts of intercepted Taliban communications,” writes Rajiv Chandrasekaran, the report’s author, who was interviewed on MSNBC's Hardball television program.
Petraeus declined to comment for Chandrasekaran’s article. Smart move. No upside.
In his story, Chandrasekaran reveals some disturbing details about the level of access and influence given to the Kagans, whom Petraeus called his “directed telescopes.”
This access became especially confusing and problematic when the Kagans began to advocate a more aggressive approach than some U.S. officers were recommending in combating a particular Taliban faction in eastern Afghanistan, known as the Haqqani network.
“The Kagans believed U.S. commanders needed to shift their focus from protecting key towns and cities to striking Haqqani encampments and smuggling routes,” writes Chandrasekaran. By the late summer of 2010, the couple began sharing their views with field officers in the east, implying to some that they were also speaking for Petraeus, when in fact, the general had not yet issued any new directives with regard to the Haqqanis.
The result was reportedly huge confusion.
Fred Kagan did insist to Chandrasekaran that they were careful to note before every meeting that they were not speaking for Petraeus, but given how close the couple was to the general, it was unclear to some whose views they were expressing.
“Neocons tend to be very good at burrowing,” said MSNBC political analyst David Corn on Hardball Wednesday evening. “(The Kagans) burrowed their way in, and they created, as Rajiv’s wonderful piece details, lots of confusion in the chain of command. People don’t know how to relate to them. Are they spies for Petraeus? Are they conveying orders from Petraeus?”
While the Kagans received no pay for the work they did in Afghanistan, in part to remain “completely independent,” their arrangement was not entirely without benefits.
According to Chandrasekaran, “The Kagans’ proximity to Petraeus, the country’s most-famous living general, provided an incentive for defense contractors to contribute to Kim Kagan’s think tank.” And in return, Petraeus became the subject of positive op-eds written by the couple, who also “gave speeches and testified before Congress, generally imparting a favorable message about progress under Petraeus, all of which helped him sell the war effort and expand his popularity,” writes Chandrasekaran.
The report does note that Defense Department travel rules permit civilian experts to work for government organizations without direct compensation. But military lawyers are now examining whether Petraeus’ relationship with the Kagans overstepped regulations.
For now, Petraeus’ decision to give two civilian analysts with neo-conservative roots top-level access raises some new questions about Petraeus’ ideological attachments. Was he so much of a neo-conservative that he would jeopardize order in his ranks just to surround himself with other hawkish voices?
“I don’t think Petraeus neatly fits into the world of the neo-cons, but he certainly is an individual who believes in the transformative power of the military,” said Chandrasekaran on the Hardball broadcast Wednesday. “The Kagans were very helpful to him with the intellectual architecture of the surge in Iraq,” where Petraeus served as commanding general. “And (The Kagans) supported more forces in Afghanistan,” he added.
As it gets harder and harder (no pun intended) for the General to maintain his reputation, we'd like to suggest a respite from all the negativity surrounding him, and a long vacation with Hustlin' Hungarian Lingerie Model Reka Ebergenyi. As our very own Hustler De Tuti Hustlers Paul Heyman cracked in the LOOKING4LARRY (the parent company for the Hustle), "If you're going down the road to bad publicity, might as well do it with your pants around your ankles!"
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