Bill Press Weighs in on Petraeus Resignation: 'Grow Up America'
On everyone's mind this morning was the resignation of CIA Deputy Director David Petraeus on Friday. Liberal radio talk show host Bill Press did his best to catch his listeners up on the details of the scandal, but then went on a rant asking why it's even an issue.
At no point in his defense of the former Army general and CIA chief did Press bring up the impending hearing concerning Libya on Capitol Hill that Petraeus was scheduled to appear before, nor did he think an FBI investigation was necessary -- despite the confidentiality agreement Petraeus submitted to before accepting one of the highest, if not the highest-level security clearance job there is in the federal government [ video below, MP3 audio here ]:
Let me just tell you flat out I don’t think he (Petreaus) should have resigned. I don’t think he should have been forced to resign. He wasn’t forced, it was his decision. I don’t think he should have resigned. I think it’s sad that we lose the services of so great a man over an extramarital affair.
Admitting that it was a voluntary decision to resign, Press still chose to scold all those who believe Petraeus should have. Predictably, Press suggested America was too puritanical about sex, even though at issue here is not so much the immorality of the former general's bedroom conduct but the blackmail potential that his actions presented:
Why was the FBI involved? I mean give me a freaking break, doesn’t the FBI have more important things to do? Are we going back to the days of J. Edgar Hoover, when the FBI is investigating people’s personal sex lives? That’s what this is about. So again, this woman is getting threatening e-mails. Shoot, I get threatening e-mails. She talked to an FBI agent, a friend of hers and they open an FBI investigation? Over somebody's e-mails? Give me a break. And secondly, why over an extramarital affair should this man -- this good leader, have to resign? I mean you know, in Europe they wouldn't treat it this way. In France, or in England, or in Germany they've grown up about sexual affairs.
Concluding the segment before taking calls, Press asked again why a story such as this is being blown out of a proportion by the media when there are several Republican politicians who are known for being 'serial adulterers'. Notable omissions from his list were philandering Democrats like Bill Clinton, Anthony Weiner, et al:
It's not -- it is wrong. It is immoral. It's not illegal, and there's no breach of national security. So I just have to ask, what's the big freakin' deal? I mean Newt Gingrich, a serial adulterer was accepted by the Republican party as a candidate for president. So was on Rudy Giuliani -- serial adulterer. David Vitter is still in the United States Senate, and General Petreaus has to resign over this? It's like, are we still living in the Victorian Age? Grow up America!
Of course, none of those politicians have the day-to-day access to classified, sensitive intelligence information like the director of the CIA does. What's more, a CIA director with an affair he's worried about being made public is incredibly vulnerable to blackmail from foreign or domestic espionage sources and/or to being manipulated by political operatives in the White House to toe the party line on things like the timeline of the Benghazi.
Surely if then-CIA director George Tenet had been discovered to have had an extramarital affair that came to light days after President Bush's re-election in 2004, Press, a partisan Democrat, would have been among those calling for a thorough investigation to get to the bottom of matters. It's ludicrous to think otherwise.