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THE BUZZ: THIS WEEK'S HOT STORY

First scandal, then a circus

Saturday, November 17, 2012 - 12:01 am

Though it hit public awareness with shocking suddenness late last week, the scandal sucking under the career of Gen. David Petraeus seemed pretty tame by Washington standards. One four-star general turned CIA director has a brief affair with the woman who wrote his biography. Ho-hum. Is that all there is?

No, not exactly. Petraeus resigned almost immediately after the affair became known, then other people’s names started appearing. There was Jill Kelley, the Washington socialite something or other said to have received “threatening” or “harassing” emails (take your pick) from Paula Broadwell, the biographer, to the effect of “stay away from my man.” And Gen. John Allen, said to have exchanged hundreds of emails with Kelley, some of them “potentially inappropriate.” And the FBI agent who was said to have sent Kelley a “shirtless photo,” except that it turned out to be a joke photo he had sent to dozens of people.

The affair has turned into a three-ring circus, and suddenly the mainstream press, which had never expressed the slightest interest in the Sept. 11 killings of four Americans in Libya, discovered Benghazi. Not that there was still any interest in the lack of security and lapses in judgment that resulted in the attack on our embassy, mind you. But – gasp! – could this scandal have been the distraction that prevented Petraeus from paying enough attention to events unfolding in Libya?

Some expressed the hope that the scandal would become even more convoluted so the media’s attention would be sufficiently engaged for them to do some real reporting on foreign policy and national security.

Calm down there. Just kidding! No one expects that.