Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C. — While admitting he “screwed up royally,” former CIA Director David Petraeus is now telling the world that his affair with Paula Broadwell was all her fault.
Petraeus’ friend, Brig. Gen. James Shelton, is saying that Broadwell is responsible for the affair with the married retired general.
Petraeus “was the innocent one when it came to relationships,” Shelton told the Daily Mail of London’s website MailOnline. Besides being beautiful, intelligent, and a fellow West Point Academy graduate, Broadwell is “a savvy woman,” Shelton said. “She’s not a kid. In a lot of ways I think she knows more about the world than Dave — I’m talking about sex.”
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Lest there be any doubt that Shelton is speaking for Petraeus, the former CIA director wrote a letter to him about his affair after he resigned. On a regular basis, Petraeus emails friends in the media on “background” with self-serving comments that appear in stories attributed to those close to him.
Petraeus’ sorry explanation brings to mind the case of Clayton J. Lonetree, a Marine security guard based at the American Embassy in Moscow in the mid-1980s. The KGB used the strikingly beautiful Violetta A. Seina, who worked for the embassy in Moscow, to entrap Sgt. Lonetree in a honey pot, intelligence lingo for recruitment of a spy through sex.
As recounted in my book, “Moscow Station: How the KGB Penetrated the American Embassy,” in September 1985, Lonetree noticed Seina at a subway station. Lonetree thought the meeting was a chance encounter. Most likely the KGB had set it up.
From eavesdropping on phone conversations and picking up office gossip, it would have been easy for the KGB to learn that Lonetree had just gone through disciplinary proceedings and that the other Marines did not hold him in high esteem. The fact that he usually became a loud, boisterous drunk after only a few drinks was perfectly obvious. He was thus a ripe target for KGB recruitment.
Lonetree and Seina chatted for a few minutes in the subway. After that, he would try to find ways to run into her at the embassy when she was working there. He saw her again on a subway train in October.
Moscow’s extensive subway system crisscrosses the city like a spider web. The chances of running into someone twice by accident were as remote as running into the same person twice on New York City’s subway system. Yet Lonetree again thought it was a chance encounter.
As Lonetree and Seina chatted over the noise of the train, she missed her subway stop. He was flattered. This was too good to be true. Her soft, grey eyes seemed to hold the promise of all the love he had missed as a child. They got off together at the next stop and took a walk, chatting animatedly about American books, movies, and food.
After two hours, they parted. But in the next few days, Lonetree would see her again in the embassy. The KGB had to be chuckling at how smoothly the plan was working. The State Department’s preference for hiring Soviet employees over Americans played nicely into the KGB’s hands.
They next met at the Marine Corps ball in November. That evening, Lonetree danced with Seina several times. He was taken by her grace. By now, he was firmly hooked. Seina was far more beautiful and enchanting than any girl he could ever attract on his own.
Eventually, Seina invited him to her home on Volzhskiy Boulevard. Lonetree began having sex with Seina, known in spy lingo as a “swallow,” in January 1986.
Now the KGB began stepping up the pressure. Seina said she wanted to introduce Lonetree to her Uncle Sasha. In fact, according to CIA files, Sasha was Aleksei G. Yefimov, a KGB officer.
“You’re a good guy,” Yefimov told Lonetree. “If you are a friend of the Soviet Union, you will help me and Violetta,” Yefimov said.
As Yefimov began asking him for information about the embassy and the CIA officers stationed there, Lonetree recognized that he would have to play along, and he began spilling secrets. While he was not married, he had been violating rules against fraternization with Soviet women. And he did not want to lose Seina.
In August 1987, a military court convicted Lonetree of espionage and 12 other related counts. Among those counts were charges that he conspired with Soviet agents to gather names and photographs of American intelligence agents, to provide personality data on American intelligence agents, and to provide information concerning the floor plans of the U.S. embassies in Moscow and Vienna. He was sentenced to 30 years of imprisonment.
“I feared blackmail,” Lonetree told ABC’s Sam Donaldson in May 1996 after serving eight years in a military prison.
While Petraeus did not give away secrets to the enemy, the Lonetree case shows why those with security clearances are not supposed to put themselves in positions where they could be compromised. The leader of an organization should set an example and be beyond reproach.
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Petraeus’ effort to manipulate public opinion by blaming Broadwell for his own breach of trust only confirms that he did not deserve to be CIA director.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is the New York Times bestselling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. Read more reports from Ronald Kessler — Click Here Now.
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