Is this the best our top spy can do?

November 14, 2012

When I was a kid, everyone I knew in school wanted to go into the CIA. Now I know why.

I say CIA, but it would be more accurate to say that we all wanted to be spies. I’m not sure we made the connection between the CIA and spying when we were boys, or if the CIA even existed back then.

But knowing now what we didn’t know then, I think it would have only strengthened the appeal. Any combination of spying and frat house would have been unimaginably cool.
CIA. You don’t know whether to join it or pledge it.

I tell you though, my wife Beth had this story pegged way before I did. She’s been watching the Petraeus Channel all week, sensing that the whole sex scandal was on the verge of blowing up in ways we couldn’t imagine.

Me, I told her to stop obsessing. It was just one more case of a guy in Washington with Slinky pants, and that’s about a newsworthy as a 12-slot egg carton.


And I’ve always thought the nation needs to get over its heart-failure-inspiring attitudes about sex. Any more, we make the Victorians look like Woodstock.

Or at least it shouldn’t be used as a disqualifier for high office — especially since proclivity seems to go hand in hand with talent. Really, if Julius Caesar had been demoted for extramarital affairs, the Roman Empire never would have made it past Florence.

Beth said she understood all that, but predicted it was about to get worse.

Boy howdy.

As George Stephanopoulos said, you now need a flow chart to keep track of all the hanky panky playing out at Langley. Sure enough, Tom Clancy was holding out on us — he made it seem like the most interesting thing going on at the CIA was the commandeering of Russian subs.

But if I had to pick one, my favorite playa in this whole episode, it would be the woman who blew the whistle on General Petraeus’ other woman to the FBI — even though she was apparently an Other Women in her own right, with another general. Uh, miss? Glass house. Stones. Throw. Read up on it.

Especially if you’re planning on calling in the FBI. This is like the opium den complaining to the police about the meth lab next door. All things considered, it might be a good time to keep your mouth shut.

(By the way, CBS News wins for best Freudian typo, when its website reported that the allegedly sexual-in-nature emails between Jill Kelley and Gen. John Allen were “potentially inappropriate and bare looking into.”)

But to me, probably the most startling revelation is that the grand poobah of the CIA, the world-affirmed master of the dark arts, the man with access to the most modern and supersecret of all spy paraphernalia, uses gmail as a preferred method of communication.

Gmail? What, was your Pinterest account down? I would have sworn that the CIA would have had all kinds of secret codes and bat phones and secure communication pipelines. But gmail? The only shock is that some Russian kid hadn’t already hacked into his account and that we all hadn’t received messages from

General Petraeus telling us that OMG he’d just scored two free airline tickets by visiting

It’s just that — I don’t know, I’d kind of expected more out of the nation’s spy in residence. Somewhere, James Bond is drinking heavily. Of course he never bothered trying to cover up his affairs in the first place.

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