The Collapse of Ethics – David Petraeus resigns from CIA – Paula Broadwell Interviews Petraeus and more… – Part 3

If I were a Ph.D student I, too, would be interested in interviewing Gen. David Petraeus on his innovative leadership skills.  It appears that was the beginning of what has now become a major ethical scandal that has, at a minimum, cost former Director Petraeus his job at the CIA.

Every choice has a consequence – and I believe that the consequences have just begun.  But let’s look a bit at the history of these choices.  Anytime there is an ethical breech three components come together: Need, Opportunity and Rationalization.  The scope of this third part is to look at the Opportunity part of this lapse.

According to a CNN article:

Some of the interviews were done via e-mail. Others were conducted as Broadwell occasionally ran with the physically fit four-star, including one time with Petraeus and his team along the Potomac River in Washington.

Broadwell decided to turn that research into a book and go to Afghanistan after Petraeus was tapped in June 2010 to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the top commander in the country.

“We had a relationship before I went there as far as this dissertation was concerned, so it just took it to another level,” Broadwell told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin in February.

The relationship between Petraeus and his biographer has become the subject of speculation since he admitted to having an extramarital affair and resigned Friday as CIA director.

Discovery…  As I have said, “Every Choice has a Consequence!”  And, another truth is – what is done in the dark generally is brought to the light.  So…it appears that Broadwell, a married mother of two, was a bit miffed as she was accused of sending harassing e-mails to another woman close to Petraeus.  Nothing like a woman scorned!

The FBI interviewed Petraeus in the course of its inquiry, said the official, who stressed that the CIA director was never the target of the investigation and his communications were never compromised. The official did not know whether Broadwell was interviewed.

Broadwell moved with her husband, Scott, to Charlotte, North Carolina, about three years ago, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Broadwell, who attended the U.S. Military Academy and served in the Army Reserves after active duty, quickly became a guest on TV news shows after her book, “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus,” was published earlier this year.

In several appearances on CNN, Broadwell — with her background in intelligence and counterterrorism — was asked about U.S. policy in Afghanistan, the Syrian civil war and Iran’s use of nuclear technology. She serves as a research associate at Harvard University’s Center for Public Leadership.

Choices and Consequences!  Petraeus has resigned and likely there will be significant ramifications or consequences for Broadwell.  Having recently posted a list of Petraeus’s 12 rules for living, it would seem one jumps out in this situation.

“We all will make mistakes,” read one rule. “The key is to recognize and admit them, to learn from them, and to take off the rear-view mirrors — drive on and avoid making them again.”

Having written the book – SECOND CHANCES – I know a thing or two about screwing up and then putting your life back together!  We do all make mistakes.  And it is true that we need to take accountability for our actions!  But, it’s not always that easy to just “drive on and avoid making them again.”  The choices we make have consequences and the kicker is that we must face, experience and learn from the consequences – however bad they may be.

Needless to say, Petraeus and Broadwell will both be dealing with the consequences of their actions for some time to come.


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