NYT: Husband in Petraeus Affair Did Not Write to Us

Letter in Ethicist column from July had similarities

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 10, 2012 6:25 AM CST

(Newser) – The New York Times has shot down speculation that the jilted husband in the David Petraeus mess wrote a letter to its Ethicist column. The letter "is NOT about the Petraeus affair, based on our factchecking," tweeted magazine editor Hugo Lindgren. "Strange, I know." As Slate notes, the story gained steam after this tweet by a Foreign Policy editor, which called attention to the advice-seeking letter printed in July. It begins:

  • "My wife is having an affair with a government executive. His role is to manage a project whose progress is seen worldwide as a demonstration of American leadership. (This might seem hyperbolic, but it is not an exaggeration.) ... He is engaged in work that I am passionate about and is absolutely the right person for the job. I strongly feel that exposing the affair will create a major distraction that would adversely impact the success of an important effort."

Gawker points out that just about everything in the letter, including the timeline of the affair, supports the notion that it was written by the husband of Petraeus biographer Paula Broadwell. For the record, advice columnist Chuck Klosterman suggested a quiet separation, one that didn't publicly divulge the affair. And he ended with this: "I halfway suspect you're writing this letter because you want specific people to read this column and deduce who is involved and what's really going on behind closed doors (without actually addressing the conflict in person). That's not ethical, either."

In this Jan. 15 photo, Paula Broadwell, author of the David Petraeus biography All In, poses for photos in Charlotte, N.C.
In this Jan. 15 photo, Paula Broadwell, author of the David Petraeus biography "All In," poses for photos in Charlotte, N.C.   (WBT)
This Feb. 2, 2012, file photo shows CIA Director David Petraeus testifying on Capitol Hill.
This Feb. 2, 2012, file photo shows CIA Director David Petraeus testifying on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)
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