Sex in the CIA

When the economic collapse of 2008 took place an important story got buried. It seems an investigation discovered that employees at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) were using their work time to surf pornography sites.

A few of the offenses included:

*A senior attorney at the SEC’s Washington headquarters spent up to eight hours a day looking at and downloading pornography. When he ran out of hard drive space, he burned the files to CDs or DVDs, which he kept in boxes around his office.

*An accountant was blocked more than 16,000 times in a month from visiting websites classified as “Sex” or “Pornography.” Yet he still managed to amass a collection of “very graphic” material on his hard drive by using Google images to bypass the SEC’s internal filter, according to an earlier report from the inspector general. The accountant refused to testify in his defense, and received a 14-day suspension.

*Seventeen of the employees were “at a senior level,” earning salaries of up to $222,418

As you may or may not recall one of the reasons for the economic collapse was the lack of oversight on behalf of the SEC.

Who had time to pay attention to what Bernie Madoff and his ilk were doing when there were porn sites to peruse?

You’d think given the history of sex scandals in this country, I wouldn’t have been surprised to wake up in DC this weekend to the news that Petraeus was embroiled in one. Maybe it’s because I was with veterans from numerous wars all weekend long that it disturbed me so much. While our soldiers are risking their lives to protect us against terrorists, our intelligence agency (there’s a misnomer if there ever was one) is literally screwing around.

Or maybe it’s just because Petraeus looks so much like Barney Fife. Not exactly my idea of irresistible.

 

Officer Barney Fife

General David Petraeus

Whatever the reason, I was completely taken aback to see the Wall Street Journal headlines of Petraeus stepping down. Many regarded Petraeus as one of the best generals of our era. That he would put his career and his marriage on the line in this way is simply mind-boggling. In that same way of Bill Clinton. Of John Edwards.

The headline story is still unraveling.

But one of the strangest comments about the Petraeus affair came from an NBC anchor:

We know powerful men have more of these affairs than women do. 

I’ve heard that sort of statement before and it always confuses me.

Y’all help me out here. How does the logic work?

Powerful men are all having affairs with the same woman?

Powerful men are all having affairs with each other?

Does that make any sense to you or is it just me?

Or is it just more myth-making by so-called reporters?

Do you think the Petraeus affair ought to be headline news?

 

 

 

 

About Karen Spears Zacharias

Author. Speaker. Journalism Instructor. Four kids. Three dogs. One grandson.

  • The Real Zippy

    Karen, I think that airing the Petraeus affair during Veterans Day weekend dishonored the memory of the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Further, I think it contributes to lowering the morale of our military, and takes a stab at patriotic citizens. It is sad, truly sad, that so much time and energy is focused on this topic. Sadder still that viewing pornography while on the job isn’t grounds for immediate dismissal. How could anyone justify watching pornography while on their job? Yet it happens…repeatedly with no recourse because those in control do not want to get involved, or worse, know about it and choose to ignore. Oh well, at least a lot of folk now know the definition of the word “paramour.” Although I see now the headlines use the word “mistress” in place of paramour :)

    • Rumionemore

      Petraeus’s biggest shortcoming has been his blatant misuse of taxpayer funds for his extravagances, as well as for his affairs. And no one believes Paula Broadwell was his first. As for service men and women being dishonored, they should mentally and otherwise disassociate with him. Most thinking people understand he soiled himself and this has nothing to do with service people. He also blew up his carefully crafted “hero” and “man of honor” image. And his war record is, at best, mediocre. He lacks courage and a sense of decency. He would not have resigned if his boss, James Clapper, had not required him, too. He needs to leave public life for once and for all. Maybe he can teach. There are plenty of college coeds for him to git on.

  • John in PDX

    I wish the press would spend as much time figuring out how we don’t let 4 American’s die again at our embassys when we could have sent in troops to save them.

  • Jolina Petersheim

    I thought it was pretty interesting that Petraeus’s affair was unveiled right before he was to testify for what happened in Libya. What he did was wrong, no questions asked, but even if he is still allowed to testify, his word will be null and void, as it is hidden beneath his affair. Coincidence? Or was the unveiling a cover-up meant to hide more truth?

    • Rumionemore

      The little guy was fortunate to even get the CIA job. The Senate INTEL Committee that vetted him did a poor job of it. The timing of his beinbg asked to resign from the post was just happenstance.

  • AFRoger

    In the documentary film Lord, Save Us From Your Followers, Portland screenwriter (Finding Forrester) remarks that people often askWhy doesn’t Hollywood make more films like the (wholesome) stories you right?” His answer: beacuse people don’t go to see them. That’s why. We need truth but seem to prefer titillation. Yes, it does need to be headline news because Gen./DIRCIA Petraeus was such a high level, powerful person who fell into immoral behavior and rationalizations or denial meachnisms WHILE he was tasked with duties of enormous importance. HOW it is reported is important, too.
    Where is the self-criticism, peer review, accountability? If people at this level can proceed blindly forward with what they must know in their heart of hearts is dead wrong and will ultimately come to light at enormous costs to themselves, their loved ones, to the nation and to the little powerless people serving under them, how can we believe that the same blindness and self-deception mechanisms are not also part of their official decision-making processes?
    When I saw the story break while in Washington, DC, knowing all the pain that was out there walking around on the Mall, and seeing all the young Americans out there visiting our nation’s capitol and her sacred institutions, I became sick to my stomach. How shall we persuade and inspire our younger citizens to believe in causes and ideals that are nobler, higher and truly just when time and again our big shots plunge to the level of soap opera sleaze? How shall we talk to them about “leadership”, for God’s sake?
    Speaking of… why are top generals writing letters on behalf of a socialite’s sister’s child custody battle? This, too, smacks of at least a potential abuse of power, if not a clear violation of boundaries. Everybody in authority needs boundaries training–and refresher training. And cognitive behavioral therapy. Obviously.
    Of greater concern, Thomas E. Ricks’ commentary “Questioning the Brass” in the 11/12/12 NYT is worth serious contemplation.

  • Pat

    Because of his stature, that is why it’s headline news. I think it should be in that sense and until we can get to the bottom of whether classified information was compromised. Other than that, the story should go away with his resignation.

    Maybe more is being made about men having affairs because they’re traditionally seen as aggressors, but there are plenty of women out there who are flirtatious and go after the men they want, married or not.

  • Rumionemore

    Insightful and witty. I’ve just come upon this article and have thought for years that Petraeus should be called Barney Fife of Arabia.


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