Petraeus deliberately sought to woo a range of folks, compromising them with access, and using them in ways that blurred lines of professional integrity. Just as it isn’t clear what Broadwell was in this—a grad student? Reporter? Publicist? Officer? Public intellectual?—it isn’t clear what, say, Tom Ricks is. Well, that’s not true… we know that Ricks is an ignorant blowhard, but I mean aside from that. But this blurring of lines, this use of “reporters” and “independent analysts” to promote Petraeus personally and his policy preferences, was a key factor in both the Iraqi and Afghan “surges.”Bernard points out that Spencer Akerman has the integrity to admit he was taken.
No matter his position or mission Petraeus always surrounded himself with a PR machine to create the cult of Petraeus.