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Petraeus’ adviser and confidant says this was the only affair

November 12th, 2012
05:13 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

Sadi Othman, the senior adviser to General David Petraeus throughout the U.S. campaign in Iraq, says that his affair with biographer Paula Broadwell was “uncharacteristic of the general, and was the only time he was unfaithful to his wife.

In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday, Othman said he is still in close contact with Petraeus and spoke with him earlier in the day.

“He’s very sad,” Othman said. “Very remorseful about what happened – about what he did. His focus now is on his family and to repair the damage that has been done because of this mistake that he made.” 

Othman remained a confidant of Petraeus after their time in Iraq. “There was no hint. General Petraeus was a very professional solider – a great leader. And very careful about how he handled himself with people in general, not just with women.”

Othman says a “reliable source” told him that the affair started after Petraeus left his post in Afghanistan in 2008. Othman discounted any speculation of an affair with the other woman in the scandal, Jill Kelley.

Officials say the investigation began when Kelley complained to the FBI about receiving harassing emails. These were then tracked back to Paula Broawell, and the FBI says that is how they stumbled on email communications between Broawell and Petraeus – clearly demonstrating their affair.

Othman says Petraeus told him Monday that he resigned because “for him, that’s doing the honorable thing – for having done the dishonorable.”

Petraeus’ most lasting military legacy will likely be turning the tide in the Iraq war - through the 2007 surge in troops. But Othman says another legacy will be the close relationships he built with leaders in Iraq and across the Middle East.

Who will replace Petraeus at CIA?

“Personal relationships matter in everything, but especially in that part of the world. And that’s where I’m worried,” Othman told Amanpour.

Othman speculated that Petraeus could still have a role to play on the international stage even if it’s not an official government role.

Like many close to Petraeus, Othman is left reconciling the man he knew as a disciplined four-star general with the man who has admitted to an extramarital affair with a woman twenty years his junior.

“You could tell me anybody else and I would say ‘yes,’ but not him... What happened? I do not know. How? I do not know.”

Fallout continues over affair of CIA director Petraeus

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soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. DEAN

    Come on, do you expect us to believe this is the first time he released his rooster on some young military groupie. i don't think so.

    November 12, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Reply
    • curly

      it is possible this is the first time for him, and she is quite the good looking hard body, they make a great looking couple

      November 12, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Reply
  2. Lily Daisy

    Oh come on. He's very remorseful? He was just outed; otherwise, we'd never know. He was involved with her for many months, having to probably lie to numbers of people, including his wife, and taking time from his important job to email his mistress "thousands of times". This apparently wasn't just a fling or a one night stand, it was a full blown affair, and it was important enough to his mistress to write threatening emails to another women saying in essence to leave her lover alone. Sounds to me like he got into this "relationship" deeper than he thought.

    November 12, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Reply
  3. sally

    Don't make so much fuss about it, we are all human.

    November 13, 2012 at 1:38 am | Reply
  4. Mickey

    This is a cover up. How come Amanpour didn't ask a single question about Petraeus's impending testimony about Benghazi? Where is the press on this issue? How come two people, Clinton and Petreaus resigned over this issue? Is there something more serious that the US was involved in Libya? The affair is a known so why the delay in the release of the information? We may never all of the answer but please don't take the American people to be dummies. This is like treating us like citizens of China, Russia, etc. We might have the internet to research information but if the the information is leaked from the government's public relations firm, it is still the same cover up information. I am distrusting the Obama administration more than ever.

    November 13, 2012 at 5:11 am | Reply
  5. Richard

    I agree. I think he's lying and his character issue runs deeper than he wants us to believe. Of course his PR people are going to say he regretted the mistake, happened only once, happened after he was out of uniform and it was no longer a crime. Pants on fire! He's as bad as she is: both egoists.

    November 13, 2012 at 9:19 am | Reply
  6. mike

    once again, litlle head it became victories over big head above shoulder. Thats what happens when you keep Jr in the dark for so long. Gee, 30 yrs of devotion down to drain stepdown was what he did was perfect wayout

    November 13, 2012 at 10:07 am | Reply
  7. Christof Schumann

    "A little digging, and pretty soon you will find that in fact Broadwell is her married name; her maiden name is Paula Kranz. Once again, we find a pretty Jewish girl (like Monica Lewinsky) in the thick of things at the highest levels of America’s executive machine. Remember, Natenyahu was Israel’s Prime Minister during the Lewinsky case too. Patraeus was seduced like good old Bill Clinton – and caught in an Israeli web. How brilliant of the Israeli’s to plant her as ‘his biographer’ assigned by his Jewish publishers…she would have close contact with a lonely general in the desert in Iraq, and then follow him to Washington, all in the cause of writing a book. Witnesses recount them taking 5 mile runs into dark corners of the base! "

    Looks like the goal here is to weaken President Obama. More dirty tricks...thankfully it was kept UNDER the carpet until after the election...

    November 13, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Reply
  8. artur mecollari

    General dis something wromg. He accepted and thats important. He is an herou serving 38 years his country with profesionalism, dignity and integrity. He put in risk his life for serving his country. For what he did he took the punishment, he accepted by his will to lrabe his possition. one poore judgment in a week moment of life must not delite 38 years of serving his country.

    November 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Reply
  9. Jonnyd2

    What is the relevance of this case for the international viewers? Were there CIA secrets compromised in any way? If not, shouldn't CNN concentrate its energy on other more important issues? I think there is too much of the air time spent on this. Not so interesting to international viewers.

    November 13, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Reply
  10. nate

    He had an affair. so what? People make mistakes.

    November 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Reply
  11. Vigilant

    There is something so wrong about this. Do people really believe that the head of the CIA, an organization with immense power that operates in secret and has orchestrated many cover ups, to be taken down by a simple affair? There is something going on behind the scenes and this was just an excuse for him to leave the office. Something is up here. Is it a Benghazi cover up, the coup planned in Ecuador?

    November 13, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Reply
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