Obama on Petraeus: "People are innocent until proven guilty"

The first question at President Obama's press conference today was about the investigation of General David Petraeus, who just resigned the directorship of the CIA following allegations that he conducted an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, and that Broadwell possessed classified information about the CIA's work in Libya.

"Should you and the American people have been told that the CIA chief was under investigation before the election?" a reporter asked Obama of the FBI investigation into Petraeus and Broadwell that began months ago.

"I think you're going to have to talk to the FBI about what their protocols are," Obama responded. "One of the challenges here is that we're not supposed to meddle in criminal investigations. That's been our practice. People are innocent until proven guilty. We don't want to prejudge these situations."

Followers of the Wikileaks/Bradley Manning investigation know that hasn't always been the practice. When Obama was asked in 2011 about Manning, who had been arrested, but not tried for violating the Espionage Act, Obama said,

If I was to release stuff, information that I’m not authorized to release, I’m breaking the law…We’re a nation of laws. We don’t individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate…

He broke the law.

Another reporter asked Obama if he's withholding judgement about the investigation, or about the fact that he was not told until about the investigation until after the election.

"I am withholding judgement about the entire process around General Petraeus...I am going to wait and see. It's also possible that had we been told, you'd be sitting here asking why we interfered in a criminal investigation."

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  • The Late P Brooks||

    Maybe this is a silly question, but what LAW did Petraeus break?
    What will the FBI charge him with? Did they give him a bomb to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge?

  • Hyperion||

    He broke the law of not getting under the Obama bus quickly enough.

  • Drake||

    Oh he's looking up at the undercarriage right now. If he values his freedom, his pension, and his wife's cushy government job, he won't say anything close to the truth to Congress.

    Benghazi was a CIA op gone bad. AQ prisoners and illegal gun running in one unsecured spot. Obama's own little Iran-Contra operation.

  • ||

    Since the affair apparently happened when he was still in the Army, that could lead to a court martial since adultery is illegal under the UCMJ.

  • ||

    Except the FBI can't charge him with jack shit under the UCMJ; it would have to be Army MPs that do that. And we all know generals don't get prosecuted for anything under the UCMJ regardless.

    Maybe I'm wrong about this; I assume John would know?

  • ||

    I think the broader isssue is that they feel it represented a serious security breach and very poor judgment by one of the most powerful men in the government, so if the Army wanted to discipline him they could under the adultery clause and conduct unbecoming clause.

  • Drake||

    The broader issue is that this is a distraction from a blown CIA action that contradicted Obama's promises, Executive Orders, and international law.

  • NoVAHockey||

    looks like there was a case in solving "forcible sodomy" with a 1-star in Sept. Have to go back to 1999 for another one, which involved adultery and a 2-star

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/po.....ghanistan/

  • SFC B||

    GEN Ward from AFRICOM was just stripped of a star for travel fraud.

    http://www.uticaod.com/latestn.....d-spending

  • LTC(ret) John||

    He is retired from the Army, so the DoD is out of the running for charges. If he did anything that violated his security clearance or agreements made to be CIA honcho, maybe something could be ginned up?

  • NoVAHockey||

    what about Allen?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    He is a possible prosecution, at least for "conduct unbecoming" and other sections.

  • Randian||

    Retirees are subject to the UCMJ.

    Thought you especially ought to know that.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Subject - if you are Retired Reserve [yikes, like me!] (not out, out) but point out a retiree who is being prosecuted for a UCMJ violation.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    See AR 601-10 (The Squirrelz won't let me post a link to the pdf)

    O! would have to have the Secretary of the Army involuntarily recall P. Think he'll do that or lead from behind.

  • Mensan||

    Not just retired reserve:

    UCMJ Article 2

    (a) The following persons are subject to this chapter:
    ...
    (4) Retired members of a regular component of the armed forces who are entitled to pay.
  • LTC(ret) John||

    Yeah, I am OK - it is only Regulars that are getting retired pay. Reservists have to be on duty, at training or hospitalized. Whew.

  • Drake||

    If they really had string evidence, they could recall him to active duty to stand charges.

    Charges like espionage or murder would justify that kind of action. Adultery based on hearsay - not. Unless it's a threat to his pension by the Administration to remain prostrate under the bus.

  • ||

    Are you sure. This source says the affair began post CIA.

    October/November 2011
    Petraeus and Broadwell began their affair about two months after he took over at the CIA, according to a Petraeus friend.

    Timeline.

  • GILMORE||

    A Serious Man| 11.14.12 @ 2:07PM |#

    Since the affair apparently happened when he was still in the Army, that could lead to a court martial since adultery is illegal under the UCMJ.

    Not exactly

    To constitute an offense under the UCMJ, the adulterous conduct must either be directly prejudicial to good order and discipline or service discrediting. Adulterous conduct that is directly prejudicial includes conduct that has an obvious, and measurably divisive effect on unit or organization discipline, morale, or cohesion, or is clearly detrimental to the authority or stature of or respect toward a servicemember.

    Technically, the real problem he'd have if he was still serving (which he wasnt) would be fraternization.

    Petraus left the army right before accepting the job of CIA director, so was no longer serving, and the whole question is meaningless.

  • Rasilio||

    Generally speaking if you have anything above a secret security clearance it is pretty much a given that you have violated some national security law or other at some point in time.

    Even little things like telling Broadwell where he was going to be on a specific day could technically be leaking national secrets to an unauthorized individual.

    Odds are they would never prosecute someone as high ranking as him on such a petty charge but they could if they wanted to.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    3 felonies (or UCMJ) violations a day!

  • SFC B||

    I'm willing to bet the loosening of the restrictions of sodomy reduced the number of UCMJ violations I'll rack up.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Just keep the rum and lash away from them.

  • Mensan||

    "Generally speaking if you have anything above a secret security clearance it is pretty much a given that you have violated some national security law or other at some point in time."

    Uh oh! I'm just going to chalk that up as one of my three daily felonies.

  • Hyperion||

    Sure, unless, you know, I just decide to take them out with a drone strike first.

  • Belgian||

    One of the challenges here is that we're not supposed to meddle in criminal investigations. That's been our practice.

    How did they avoid laughing at this line? They must be real professionals.

  • tarran||

    Yes, that's why that Coptic filmmaker just happened to get arrested and held without bail for violating his "Don't use aliases or computers without your parole officer's permission" so quickly.

  • Loki||

    Not to mention the "police acted stupidly" shit early on in the professor Gates case, the "if I had a son he would look like Trayvon" comment early on in the Zimmerman case.

    He meddle in criminal investigations all the time, just not ones involving TOP. MEN.

  • ||

    Let me be clear: sometimes, when I allow it, people are to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

  • Rasilio||

    I believe what he really meant is...

    "Let me be clear: people are to be presumed innocent until I figure out how much dirt they have on me and whether it is politically advantageous to me for them to be innocent."

  • Loki||

    ^THIS^

  • Bee Tagger||

    "we're not supposed to meddle in criminal investigations. That's been our practice. People are innocent until proven guilty. We don't want to prejudge these situations.""

    They sure took that "do not meddle" stance to it's extreme in the Fast & Furious instance, didn't they?

  • GILMORE||

    "One of the challenges here is that we're not supposed to meddle in criminal investigations. That's been our practice. People are innocent until proven guilty. We don't want to prejudge these situations."

    The FBI determined no criminal conduct was involved and dropped the case in October, at which point an FBI agent went to congressman Eric Cantor and leaked details of it.

    Repeat: there are no criminal charges.

    The investigation currently ongoing is not of Petraeus or Broadwell or anyone involved in the actual affair, but rather of why no one in Congress was made aware that the CIA director was being investigated prior to the election.

  • Randian||

    So yet-another lie from the White House.

    This guy is really setting a standard for when someone truly and irredeemably evil takes the White House.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think Obama is plenty evil. It's just that he and most of his appointees are also inept and inexperienced.

  • Mensan||

    So, we should be thankful for his incompetence?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I suppose. It's not like his goals are something we want him to achieve.

  • Bam!||

    "It's just that he and most of his appointees are also inept and inexperienced."

    Obama thought the government should be run by people like himself.

  • Calidissident||

    I guess drone victims and people locked up under NDAA don't get the same benefit of the doubt as Top.Men get?

  • Tman||

    How come no one at the press conference asks him this question?

    Because fuck you, that's why.

    It's just sickening.

    "Mr President, you purport to believe in the theory of 'innocent until proven guilty' but you've already approved the assassination of US citizens via drone strikes without any due process. How do you justify your response?"

    "Next question please."

  • Belgian||

    "Did you guys hear what Scottie Pippen said about my game? Better than Jordan? Isn't that cool?"

  • Tman||

    "Mr President, would you describe yourself as a magnificent lover or more like a stupendous master of the sexual arts?"

  • ||

    Those questions are for Republican presidents, silly.

  • Randian||

    "I think you're going to have to talk to the FBI about what their protocols are," Obama responded.

    Who the fuck is in charge, ultimately, of the FBI ferchrissakes?

    Obama just threw down the gauntlet against John McCain. I have to root for McCain here.

  • tarran||

    Obama is not in charge or anything that isn't going right. He is behind every good idea.

    That's how people with narcissistic personality disorder roll.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Same here. As much as I loath McCain generally, he's right on Benghazi. Blind squirrel finds an acorn every once in a while, or something like that.

    It's really a bizarre world when Libyan politicians are obviously more credible than the US President (as was the case when the Obama Admin was spinning the demonstration-out-of-control story) and John McCain is on the right side of a foreign policy dispute.

  • ||

    I mean, what?

    OK, I totally get the don't-interfere-with-a-criminal-investigation shtick. That's cool (though of course laughable given his history as the article notes, but we should be years beyond being surprised at that sort of thing). But doesn't the whole don't-interfere thing fall apart when you're talking about the HEAD OF THE FRICKING CIA? or at least isn't there maybe a potential conflict between criminal procedure and national security here - one that the administration has arguably been OVERsensitive to in favor of "national security" when it suits their needs?

  • MJGreen||

    He's really living up to that "President Not-My-Fault" slur.

  • Tim||

    Buck? WHat buck? Where?

  • Bardas Phocas||

    See. Right there.
    That's a movie right there.

    A tense psychologcal thriller - with sexy interludes. Harrison Ford plays the heroic, though flawed and horndogish, director of the CIA. Make your pick of 30 something actresses to play the 40 year old cougars stalking our hero. Gary Oldman will play the creepy Jean Valjean-like FBI agent who is our hero's nemisis. Marvel as 'The Director' beds multiple non-wife hotties, battles terrorists and trys to figure out gmail settings. Have Damon Wyman play the president.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    *Damon Wayans*

  • LTC(ret) John||

    OK, I'd buy a ticket to see that.

  • Calidissident||

    I would so go and see that too.

    Btw, Salma Hayek (who's half Lebanese) should play Jill Kelley (who is Lebanese). Just my one little casting suggestion

  • Killazontherun||

    I just don't find it very plausible.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Riggs has been proven guilty of alt-text murder.

  • Trespassers W||

    People are innocent until proven guilty. We don't want to prejudge these situations.

    That reminds me of that guy who made that video, and then all the Muslims got mad and killed some people... whatever happened with that, anyway? They put the guy in jail, right?

  • ||

    Let's just say the future will definitely not belong to the likes of him. Good job, Obama.

  • Loki||

    Instead it will belong to the kinds of people who get mad and riot/ murder over a fucking youtube video. Yeah, bang up job there Captain 0.

  • Bee Tagger||

    It's also possible that had we been told, you'd be sitting here asking why we interfered in a criminal investigation."

    Maybe it's because I'm currently watching Battlestar Galactica right now, but I can't help but think that leaders don't ponder theoretical responses from the media to decisions not made. Especially not out loud.

  • ||

    So Obama had no idea about Fast and Furious, no idea about Benghazi, no idea that his CIA chief was being investigated, and he wants points for not expanding any effort to keep his own house in order? Are we sure an empty chair really isn't running the show?

  • ||

    All of his moronic, retarded fans will not ask this question, so it really doesn't matter, does it? He got term two, his fellators are happy because they "won" (?), and none of this matters. Look, over there: Elvis!

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's a problem.

    I don't think anything will come of this no matter how ugly the truth is. Even if it turns out that they were torturing American prisoners in Benghazi, and this was all a coverup, the millions of Americans in Obama's personality cult will just say that Bush was worse...

    We should be paying more attention to what's going in the budget/tax negotiations. That's where things are really happening. That's the stuff that might really change public opinion, too.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "torturing American prisoners"

    I meant torturing prisoners captured or held by Americans, but y'all know what I meant.

  • ||

    Well, the two categories CAN overlap, so I don't think it makes much of a difference.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Leading From (Way) Behind?

    "I am not in control of the Executive Branch of the US Government" is basically what I am hearing.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    If so, that would be the first honest thing he ever said.

  • Killazontherun||

    Pretty much what he said when Univision asked him about the record number of deportations. He has no control over the department responsible for that so you couldn't blame him. That is one limp dick that defies gravity, right there. How he got even the vote of his wife is hard to fathom. But the votes of 70 percent of Hispanics? Those who did vote for him deserve to be deported to Arizona.

  • ||

    People are innocent until proven guilty. We don't want to prejudge these situations.

    Everyone in Gitmo and on the drone strike list should be relieved about this policy change.

    /sarcasm

  • Ken Shultz||

    News Flash!

    Barack Obama is a lying sack.

    Film at 11:00.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Anybody that believes he White House didn't know that the FBI was investigating the head of the CIA is too gullible to be taken seriously.

    If they didn't know, they should have known.

  • ||

    While we're on the topic of the CIA: has the CIA ever done anything right? I'm being serious. I'm drawing a blank.

  • Ken Shultz||

    We did win the Cold War, and that's worth something.

  • Randian||

    My grandfather told me they once smuggled a camel out of the Soviet Bloc.

    Don't ask.

  • ||

  • ||

  • ||

    Thank you, I was hoping someone would take the logical next step.

  • ||

    You're not my dad! You don't tell me what to do!

  • ||

    When it comes to Vanessa Angel I do.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Aw c'mon, how can we not ask - well...?!

  • tarran||

    They did defeat that pacifists of the Ghandi nebula in a bloody battle despite taking many casualties.

  • ||

    MKUltra? By "right", you mean "horribly evil", I assume.

  • ||

    14. Substances which will lower the ambition and general working efficiency of men when administered in undetectable amounts.

    The pot thread's over there, idiot.

  • Rasilio||

    well that is one of the problems with the CIA, when they do their job properly you NEVER hear about it until decades later after all the principals involved are dead and likely not even then.

    It is very likely that they have had some spectacular successes over the years, we just never heard about them because the details were classified.

    I mean, assuming they and not the NSA were behind it Stuxnet was probably an unqualified success (although the NSA is the more likely candidate here)

  • Rhinonamous||

    The good folks at Chevron might take issue with labeling it unqualified.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think they were bad asses when they were the OSS. Perhaps a name change would help?

  • ||

    No, they were the same assholes, just technically military. Why would they have been any different?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I dunno, that's what the movies say. And the comic books. You're not calling Sgt. Rock a liar, are you?

  • Lord Humungus||

    this was pretty cool:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Azorian

    though only a Cold War zealot could approve of those costs.

  • ||

    AZORIAN BLUE HADES?!?

  • Trespassers W||

    "Azorian" (erroneously called "Jennifer"...)

    JENNIFER MORGUE?

  • Bobarian||

    To be fair, anything a covert spy agency does successfully, we don't find out about.

    So maybe a lot. They got away with Vince Foster, amirite?

  • Killazontherun||

    That is the usual excuse. If they are any good at covering up their successes, they are even better at covering up their failures. Human nature 1 freaking 01.

  • ||

    Argo was pretty cool.

  • Don Mynack||

    Meanwhile, Bill Clinton added "C'mon people, have you seen Mrs. Petraeus? Looks like a damn grandma! Why are we even talking about this?"

  • db||

    Bibi: Hey Barry, I was thinking, with all this publicity on your military right now, you might need a break. What say I go give Gaza another poke with my hornet stick and see what we can do?

    BO: Go for it, Bibi. Make sure you piss off Iran and Egypt while you're at it.

    Bibi: Sure thing, brah. War out.

  • R C Dean||

    More likely, that conversation is with whoever is running Gaza these days. They're the ones who ramped up the rockets and mortars over the weekend.

    And, really, who owes Barack I some favors? Netanyahu, or Hamas?

    http://www.jpost.com/Defense/A.....?id=291300

  • Number 2||

    " "One of the challenges here is that we're not supposed to meddle in criminal investigations. That's been our practice. People are innocent until proven guilty. We don't want to prejudge these situations.""

    Wait a minute. Where did this guy come from? I thought we re-elected the President who thinks he can summarily execute Americans he considers threats without needing to bother with criminal investigations or presumptions of innocence.

  • Adam330||

    "I think you're going to have to talk to the FBI about what their protocols are," Obama responded.

    Wait a second, aren't you the guy in charge of the FBI. Oh yes, you are. That's why we're asking you dumbshit.

    "One of the challenges here is that we're not supposed to meddle in criminal investigations. That's been our practice. People are innocent until proven guilty. We don't want to prejudge these situations."

    You mean you've decided that you aren't going to supervise the people/agencies that report to you? What did you get elected for then?

    And what criminal investigation was that? I haven't heard anything that remotely qualifies as criminal in anythin that was investigation. The facts seem to be that Jill Kelley got an FBI agent that was hot for her to open an investigation, despite the lack of any evidence, and then the wheels of state just kept turning.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    "I am withholding judgement about the entire process around General Petraeus...I am going to wait and see. It's also possible that had we been told, you'd be sitting here asking why we interfered in a criminal investigation."

    What a child this guy is.

  • ||

    I am withholding judgement about the entire process around General Petraeus...I am going to wait and see.

    I'm going to wait and see how Petraeus testifies about Benghazi.

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