Crisis Communications: The David Petraeus Scandal

General David Petraeus, who served in the Army for 37 years, resigned from his position as Director of the CIA on Thursday, November 8, 2012 due to an extramarital affair he admits to having with his biographer Paula Broadwell.

The story surfaced due to Petraeus family friend, Jill Kelley, who filed a complaint with the Federal Bureau of Investigations after receiving harassing and/or threatening emails from an anonymous email account. The emails were traced back to Paula Broadwell, a military activist who wrote the NY Times Bestseller All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.

This video, taken from The Huffington Post‘s website, suggests that the investigation has revealed that Petraeus and Broadwell used a messaging system favored by the terrorist group, Al Qaeda to avoid detection during their affair.

Many question whether or not Petraeus compromised his role in the intelligence community and ask why, if the FBI has been investigating the affair since June 2012, the investigation was not reported to the White House until November 7, 2012—after the November 6 Presidential Election.

Some media outlets are speculating that the information was withheld from top government officials until after the election in an effort to keep the nation focused on issues and reduce political interference. Others suggest that Gen. Petraeus has placed the White House in a compromising position regarding potential foreign affairs and confidential information leaks.

cia-david-petraeusAccording to Matthew Miller, former Director of the Office of Public Affairs at the Department of Justice, the FBI handled the David Petraeus investigation correctly.

Miller states that the, “FBI had not uncovered any active threat to national security…had the investigation shown the relationship posed an active threat to national security—either because of the disclosure of classified information, blackmail, or some other matter—the attorney general and the FBI undoubtedly would have notified the president immediately.”

With the story gaining national and international attention, what would you suggest for the CIA in regards to handling this matter and promoting its mission of being the “agency responsible for providing national security intelligence?”

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Yasheaka Oakley Owens

Yasheaka Oakley Owens is the owner of YOakleyPR, a woman-owned small business that provides public relations, social media, and online marketing support services to small businesses and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware.

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