Leading the CIA | Charles Duelfer

Leading the CIA

The Petraeus resignation may look different if you are sitting in the CIA. A salient aspect would be the contrast between the standards Petraeus is reported to have ratcheted up inside the Agency and the ones he lived. During the past year, staff have been reminded of the sanctions against contact with journalists. Recent court cases demonstrate that this administration has been particularly vigorous in pursuing leaks to journalists.

The CIA also puts unique demands upon the personal lives of its staff. There are strict rules on personal conduct and relations (particularly with foreigners and journalists). Disciplinary actions are taken against officers who engage in inappropriate relationships. Officers, some with long successful careers have been terminated for such things. I would not be surprised if there were officers who had been terminated for actions not dissimilar to those of the Director…and during his tenure.

Petraeus has been praised for nurturing a relationship with the press. Being competent in the field is not sufficient for political success in Washington. However, his attitude of raising the enforcement of discipline at CIA also makes his own behavior subject to the same standard of scrutiny and his resignation, seems fully appropriate.

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