As more information comes to light about General Petraeus's affair with his biographer, the White House looks worse and worse.
First: the affair apparently began before General Petraeus assumed leadership of the CIA. Before he was able to take that office, he would have been vetted, including an interview while attached to a lie detector. Are the CIA really that bad at finding this kind of thing?
Second: the FBI had been investigating this for months. While at the onset the were not aware that Petraeus was the object of their investigation, they knew that part months ago. Now, the FBI reports to the Attorney General who, in turn, reports to the White House. That means that Eric Holder knew, and that Barack Obama should have known, that David Petraeus was having an affair and, therefore, compromised.
That second piece is hugely important for two reasons. The first is simple- outside of the President himself, the last person the US can afford to have so compromised is the head of the CIA. I have not seen any reports that Petreaus was being blackmailed, but those rumors certainly exist. Importantly, he had opened himself to blackmail, which is bad enough. He should have been dismissed as soon as it came to light. Not only was he not, but the whole affair was covered up by the Attorney General and (likely) the President.
As a result of that cover up, a compromised CIA Director was in place during the 9/11 Benghazi attack. Is it possible that some of the problems in coordination and response were due to Mr. Petreaus being compromised? Or because he was actively engaged in getting some strange at the time he should have been assisting with the response? It doesn't matter that we'll never know the answers to those questions, the very fact they can be credibly asked is inexcusable.
Further, why was he left in place? Was it the deeply cynical idea that removing him prior to the election would have been bad for Barack Obama? I certainly hope not, but I cannot put it past the President who still has not acknowledged his own roll in Benghazi, nor the Fast and Furious scandal. Was there some other reason? I certainly can't think what it would be.
In either case, we once again come this statement: it's not the crime, it's the cover up. People have affairs. Some of them are powerful people. Having an affair compromises your integrity; it also opens you up to a variety of negative consequences. The more highly situated you are, the more negative those consequences have the potential to be. By covering up the scandal instead of simply demanding General Petraeus's immediate resignation, Barack Obama left this country vulnerable.