Readers Respond

Hubris led to the downfall of Petraeus, Allen

It's amazing that the men who ran the CIA and the war in Afghanistan had so much time on their hands ("Pieces of a puzzle," Nov. 14).

The indiscretions of former CIA Director David Petraeus and Gen. John Allen are an embarrassment. I hate to think what the "boots on the ground" are saying about their leaders today.


However, in the case of Mr. Petraeus it was more than a fall from grace, more than a personal failing and poor judgment. It was blatant disregard for national security.

I'm no expert on the trade craft of espionage, but I do understand the hazards of blackmail. How tragic to see this former four-star general with such a stellar record slip on a banana peel.


The war in Afghanistan must really be winding down if General Allen has to keep himself occupied by sending thousands of e-mails to an "unpaid, social liaison" back in Tampa. What's wrong with this picture?

But what really bothers me are reports that both Mr. Allen and Mr. Petraeus wrote letters to a judge regarding a custody case. This is hardly in either man's job description and indicates a staggering lack of judgment.

The reports didn't say whether these letters were written on CIA or Central Command letterhead, but if they were that would make it even worse.

Taxpayers spend billions to keep the CIA in operation, and it's no secret the war in Afghanistan is costing us a bundle. The contempt both Mr. Petraeus and Mr. Allen have exhibited toward the nation is horrifying.

Roz Heid, Baltimore