An anonymous letter that ran in the New York Times' "Ethicist" advice column on July 13 has sparked speculation that Paula Broadwell's husband, Scott, knew about her affair with former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus.
The reader, whose name was withheld, wrote to the column's author, Chuck Klosterman, for advice about his wife's affair with a "government executive," whose "role is to manage a project whose progress is seen worldwide as a demonstration of American leadership." The reader explained that he has watched the affair intensify over the last year, but added that he respected his wife's lover and believed he was the right man for the high-powered job he held.
His problem was that he believed that exposing the affair would "create a major distraction that would adversely impact the success of an important effort." He asked if he should acknowledge the affair, or suffer in silence to ensure the project he was passionate about succeeded.
The letter was first dug up by CNBC's Herb Greenberg, shortly after news broke that Petraeus was resigning from his position at the CIA, because of his affair with his biographer.
Many have already pointed out that it could be a coincidence -- as Slate's Allison Benedikt noted, What "government executive" is not having an affair with some guy's wife? -- but the details of the letter, including the description of his wife's lover's job, seemed too perfect for people not to make the connection.
The letter also fits the timeline of what the public knows about the affair, according to The Atlantic Wire. The affair reportedly began in August 2011 and ended "months ago," and the letter was published this past July.
Coincidence or not, it should be noted that Klosterman advised the reader not to expose the affair in any high-profile way:
"The only motive for exposing the relationship would be to humiliate him and your wife, and that’s never a good reason for doing anything. This is between you and your spouse. You should tell her you want to separate, just as you would if she were sleeping with the mailman. The idea of “suffering in silence” for the good of the project is illogical. How would the quiet divorce of this man’s mistress hurt an international leadership initiative? He’d probably be relieved"