Once upon a time, before the Internet brought us all together, it would take days, weeks, or even months after an event for conspiracy theories to emerge. Not so in today’s social media–driven news cycle. This afternoon, CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus resigned after admitting to an extramarital affair, and within seconds Twitter was abuzz with suspicion from conservatives about the real reason he quit. The two leading theories: that Petraeus delayed his resignation to avoid hurting President Obama on Election Day, and to hide the “truth” about Ambassador Chris Stevens’ death in Benghazi.
A few choice examples:
Rupert Murdoch: “Petraeus resignation. Timing, everything suspicious. There has to be more to this story.”
Former Romney spokesperson Richard Grenell: “lots of questions about Petraeus resignation: who brought affair to light? why not before election? did WhiteHouse ask him to wait?”
National Review's Charles C.W. Cooke: “Politics is politics, but if this Petraeus stuff wasn't known prior to the election I'll eat my shoes.”
The Blaze, mere minutes after the story broke, posted this quote from Buck Sexton, their “national security expert”: “While the military officially condemns adultery under its regulations, I’m not aware of a similar prohibition in the intelligence community. One could argue an affair creates a threat of blackmail, but the Petraeus resignation, coming so soon after Obama’s re-election, seems to leave many unanswered questions. Something is not right here.”
Minutes later, Hot Air’s Allahpundit offered this:
Why would an affair mean that he couldn’t run the CIA anymore? Was he being blackmailed? Or is there more to it than this? …Petraeus’s resignation letter says, “After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair.” But Petraeus has actually been married for more than 38 years; the wedding was on July 6, 1974. In other words, if you read the resignation letter carefully, he’s telling you that this happened sometime between July 2011 and July 2012, not recently. Why didn’t he resign sooner? Or, on the flip side, why didn’t he try to hang on longer if he’d held on this long already?
(In fact, as many outlets have reported, Petraeus has been married for 38 years.)
Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro also weighed in:
“This is only the latest in a string of groundshaking events demonstrating that the Obama administration hid information vital to the American people during the last days of the 2012 election cycle. The fact that the most respected soldier of his generation, Petraeus, would be leaving the administration during an Obama second term, had to be known by the White House prior to the election. And they said nothing in order to run out the clock… The Petraeus resignation is only the most recent evidence that the Obama administration will lie to the American people to achieve its ends. But with all of his experts gone, Obama’s cabinet will now be staffed by the political C team in a time of crisis, both domestically and internationally.”
And what would a conspiracy theory gold rush be without a Twitter spree from Laura Ingraham?
“COINCIDENCE?! Petraeus is set to testify NEXT week at a closed door session on Capitol Hill abt Benghazi. Did BHO push him out? This stinks!”
“SPY NOVEL STUFF: It wd be diabolically genius (altho unconventional) 2cite one scandal, to avoid testifying/telling truth abt another.”
“POST-ELECTION INFO. DUMP: Did Petraeus delay resig. until after election? Imagine if voters knew truth abt Benghazi pre-election?”
To be fair, Petraeus' resignation isn't only raising questions on the right. PBS' Gwen Ifill, hardly a partisan hack, tweeted, "Petraeus...SCOTUS takes up voting rights challenge...was this stuff just backed up in the pipeline for a post-election Friday dump?"
The Sunday morning talk shows should be entertaining.