Petraeus Gave Unpaid Analysts Unusual Access

Civilians Fred and Kim Kagan worked for free in Afghanistan

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 19, 2012 7:00 AM CST

(Newser) – Military lawyers are looking into a strange arrangement David Petraeus had with a husband-and-wife team of conservative think-tank analysts, who served as unofficial, unpaid de-facto senior advisers to him in Afghanistan, the Washington Post reports. Fred and Kim Kagan had top-level security clearance, desks in Petraeus' headquarters, and enjoyed priority travel across the war zone. Senior White House and Pentagon officials were unaware of the arrangement, but many others were. At one Kagan function back in Washington, Petraeus quipped, "There's some suspicion that there's a hand up my back, and it makes my lips talk, and it's operated by one of the Doctors Kagan."

The Kagans believed the US should shift to an offensive footing against the Haqqani network—and told commanders as much. "It created huge confusion," one senior military officer says. “Everyone assumed they were speaking for the boss.” Some generals praise the Kagans (one says they "did the work of 20 intelligence analysts") but others worried about their Washington connections, with some suspecting they funneled classified info to Republicans. "The situation was very, very weird," says one colonel. "It’s not how you run a headquarters." Even Fred Kagan admits the situation was "strange and uncomfortable" at times. "We were going around speaking our minds, trying to force people to think about things in different ways." Click to read the lengthy piece.

Fred and Kim Kagan arrive for a meeting with then-presidential candidate John McCain at his campaign headquarters in this Aug. 3, 2008 file photo.
Fred and Kim Kagan arrive for a meeting with then-presidential candidate John McCain at his campaign headquarters in this Aug. 3, 2008 file photo.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Retired Gen. Jack Keane, right,  Fred Kagan, center, and Kim Kagan  leave John McCain's campaign headquarters in this Aug. 3, 2008 file photo.
Retired Gen. Jack Keane, right, Fred Kagan, center, and Kim Kagan leave John McCain's campaign headquarters in this Aug. 3, 2008 file photo.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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There are actual patriots in the world. It was very important to me not to be seen to be profiting from
the war. - Fred Kagan, on why they didn't
accept payment for his work

Petraeus relied on the Kagans for a fresh set of eyes, because he didn’t have the same nuanced understanding of Afghanistan that he had
of Iraq. - An anonymous former Petraeus aide

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