David David Petraeus recently resigned as CIA chief after admitting to having an affair with writer Paula Broadwell, who co-authored a biography about him. (Associated Press)
First aired on Day 6 (17/11/12)
As details continue to emerge about the extramarital affair between former CIA chief David Petraeus and biographer Paula Broadwell, Day 6 had a chat with Nigel West, an author and espionage expert. West has written several books about the spy game, including the Historical Dictionary of Sexpionage. Throughout his years of research, he's found that sex and seduction have gone hand in hand with infiltrating intelligence-gathering and covert operations.
"Of course we're very interested in the motivations of people who betray secrets, and sometimes it's ideology, sometimes it's money, but more often than not, there is a woman involved," West said.
There's no indication that Broadwell, a journalist and former military officer, was after state secrets, but did her involvement with Petraeus lead to any security concerns?
"The security issue is, first of all, whether or not classified information has been compromised," West said. "There is no direct evidence of that so far, except that the lovely Paula did make a public comment about the Benghazi raid, in which she referred to details that were not in the public domain. There will be some interest from the FBI on where she got that information. The second area is David Petraeus's security clearance, and although there is no issue probably relating to the compromise of classified information, there perhaps is an issue...regarding [his] judgment and discretion."
Petraeus, however, is by no means the first spymaster to cheat on his wife. In fact, West says there is a long history of central intelligence directors having mistresses. Wild Bill Donovan, who created the Office of Strategic Services in the Second World War, which was one of the precursors to the CIA, had plenty of girlfriends. Allen Dulles, the director of Central Intelligence [in the 1950s and early 1960s] spent most of his life living with his mistress rather than his wife."