I never anticipated the extramarital affair between David H. Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, the woman I’d worked with for 16 months on a book about Petraeus’s year commanding the war in Afghanistan. On rare occasions, her good looks and close access would prompt a colleague to raise an eyebrow about their relationship, but I never took it seriously.
I certainly wasn’t alone. The unusually close relationship between subject and biographer was no secret by the time President Obama nominated Petraeus as CIA director in the summer of 2011 following his command year in Kabul. America’s most famous and heralded general had granted Broadwell extraordinary access for her book, “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.” Nor has Broadwell done anything to hide this access or her great admiration of Petraeus since the book was published in January, describing him in terms that are, well, effusive.
So when the news broke Friday that Petraeus was resigning in disgrace because of an adulterous affair, I was dumbfounded. “Could it be Paula?” my friends and colleagues asked immediately. Even then, I said I would give her the benefit of the doubt — until the doubt evaporated a few hours later.