Apart from all the watercooler stuff about affairs, tawdry e-mails and whatnot, the question surrounding the unfolding Petraeus/Broadwell news story is how this complicates the work President Obama and Congress have to tackle, and what the repercussions may be.
“I think it adds turmoil to the national security apparatus, as the president tries to recast his Cabinet,” says NBC Latino contributor Danny Vargas, an Air Force veteran who has dealt with national security matters. ”There are going to be hearings on what happened in Benghazi, and this just adds another wrinkle; it becomes more convoluted,” he says. Vargas also adds that as Congress and the White House are dealing with fiscal and economic matters, “it adds another layer of complexity we don’t need right now.”
But California Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, says she is not as worried about the repercussions of the Petraeus investigation on the work Congress has to do.
“The whole issue of taxes, and the fiscal cliff — we knew that was coming and we did not take care of it for a year and a half, which is the reason we have sequestration,” says Congresswoman Sanchez. “The whole issue of the CIA, and Petraeus, as well as Benghazi, are all outside concerns,” she says, saying what is important is Congress move forward on fiscal matters.
Following CIA Director Petraeus’ resignation — as well as the unexpected investigation of General John Allen, in charge of the international military force in Afghanistan — the question is what effect will this have on the CIA and the military leadership. “We have to make sure the troops’ as well as the CIA’s morale is up, and reassure them we are moving forward, but we have a deep bench, as they say, and we will find competent people for positions we have to fill,” says Sanchez.
In the meantime, says Vargas, there are more questions than answers. ”Why does an e-mail rise to the level of an FBI investigation?” he asks.
While the scandal has rocked Washington and beyond, both Vargas and Sanchez say this does not take away from the work Petraeus did as a General and then CIA Director.
“General Petraeus served our country in a very honorable way, and it is truly a tragedy for him and his family,” says the California congresswoman.
“This sort of reminds us we lift people up in these mythical ways, as larger than life and ‘beyond human,’ but in the end everyone is capable of frailties and misjudgments; we’re all human beings,” says Vargas.