William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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OH DEAR, OH DEAR – AT 8:20 A.M. ET:  The Petraeus scandal as expanded dramatically.  This is serious stuff, and I get the sense that it goes well beyond sex.  We praise the Washington Post for its excellent coverage.  This is from this morning's edition:

PERTH, Australia — The FBI probe into the sex scandal that prompted CIA Director David Petraeus to resign has expanded to ensnare Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced early Tuesday.

According to a senior U.S. defense official, the FBI has uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 documents — most of them e-mails — of “potentially inappropriate” communication between Allen and Jill Kelley, the 37-year-old Tampa woman whose report of harrassment by a person who turned out to be Petraeus’s mistress ultimately led to Petraeus’s downfall.

Allen, a Marine, succeeded Petraeus as the top allied commander in Afghanistan in July 2011. He also served as Petraeus’s deputy when both generals led the military’s Tampa-based Central Command from 2008 until 2010.

The FBI first notified the Pentagon of its investigation into Allen’s communications with Kelley on Sunday evening, according to the senior defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the pending case.

In response, Pentagon chief Leon E. Panetta referred the investigation on Monday to the Defense Department’s Inspector General for further review, according to a statement released by Panetta early Tuesday as he was traveling to Australia.

COMMENT:  What?  There are 20,000 to 30,000 documents exposing "potentially inappropriate" communication between Allen and Jill Kelley?

Let us be blunt, at the risk of being called racists, McCarthyites, or just gosh-darned culturally insensitive.  Jill Kelley – that his her married name – is of Lebanese origin.  As we stressed here, that may or may not mean anything at all, but we have a right to insist that it be examined.  We now learn that she has been sexually linked to two American four-star generals with direct responsibility for military and intelligence operations in the Arab and Muslim worlds.  Why would she be so interested in these two men?

We quote old Washington hand Wesley Pruden, who wrote these words before the latest bombshell exploded:

What did the president know, and when did he know it? Of what steel are the Republicans in Congress made? We’re about to find out.

Big scandals from little leaks grow. Watergate was at first only “a third-rate burglary.” Bubba thought he was only trying to cover up the details of a failed real-estate scheme down on the White River. Humiliation, resignation and even an impeachment followed.

History warns presidents that second terms are never Sunday picnics, and the unfolding – exploding is more accurate – of the story of what really happened on a violent night in Benghazi and the days that followed is Barack Obama’s introduction to his next four years.  We probably ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Yes, we will see of what steel the Republicans in Congress are made.  We will also see if the mainstream media, fresh from another season of groveling before Barack, come to save us, can play it straight and perform its function. 

This is unfolding hour by hour.

November 13,  2012