Did Paula Broadwell's Husband Write The New York Times About Her Affair with Petraeus?

David Haglund at Slate.com cited Blake Hounshell of Foreign Policy for tweeting an "interesting letter." A letter published in July in "The Ethicist" column in The New York Times Magazine might just be from the husband of Paula Broadwell, the author and lover of former CIA director David Petraeus. "The second letter in this particular installment was titled 'My Wife’s Lover,' and it begins with what, under the circumstances, are some pretty striking opening lines."

“My wife is having an affair with a government executive,” it begins. “His role is to manage a project whose progress is seen worldwide as a demonstration of American leadership. (This might seem hyperbolic, but it is not an exaggeration.)”

The letter writer goes on to explain that “exposing the affair will create a major distraction that would adversely impact the success of an important effort,” and to ask whether it is OK for him to “suffer in silence for the next year or two for a project” he believes “must succeed,” or whether he is obligated to acknowledge it in some way and “finally force closure.”

It may be a “complete coincidence,” wrote Haglund. His Slate colleagues were skeptics:

Some on Twitter have already reacted skeptically to the notion that it is anything more than that, including my Slate colleague Allison Benedikt, who commented, “What 'government executive' is not having an affair with some guy's wife?” To which Slate contributor Ruth Graham added, “would anyone really repeatedly refer to heading the CIA as a 'project'? Doesn't sound quite right.”

Dear Allison Benedikt: you are a corrosive cynic, and you simply must be wrong that everybody’s cheating on their spouses. Your mentality is part of what’s wrong with Washington.

Anyway, Haglund then shares how Chuck Klostermann of the Times replied in part:

The fact that you’re willing to accept your wife’s infidelity for some greater political good is beyond honorable. In fact, it’s so over-the-top honorable that I’m not sure I believe your motives are real. Part of me wonders why you’re even posing this question, particularly in a column that is printed in The New York Times.

....I halfway suspect you’re writing this letter because you want specific people to read this column and deduce who is involved and what’s really going on behind closed doors (without actually addressing the conflict in person). That’s not ethical, either.

Klostermann also suggested the husband should separate quietly from the wife, just as he would if she were cheating with the mailman.

Tim Graham's picture