Tara McKelvey, who writes about national security for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, told CNN on Sunday that former CIA Director David Petraeus flirted with both men in women in the media to get favorable press coverage.
Following his resignation earlier this month, McKelvey recalled her experience with Petraeus and his mistress, Paula Broadwell, in a piece for the The Atlantic.
“Like many successful people in Washington, Petraeus was a flirt, with both men and women,” she wrote. “Ebullient, energetic, even bubbly, he had cultivated relationships with male journalists for years, selling them on controversial programs such as counterinsurgency, as well as on his own ‘super-human, perfect-warrior image,’ as one military officer puts it. … In short, Petraeus was good at his job, as a military man, as head of the CIA, and as director of a media charm campaign in Washington.”
The Washington Post‘s Rajiv Chandrasekaran explained to Kurtz on Sunday that the access Petraeus provided “could be intoxicating for journalists.”
“You get to zip around the battlefield on a Black Hawk helicopter popping into frontline bases, it’s a thrill traveling with a four star [general],” Chandrasekaran said, adding that “Petraeus was an assiduous emailer.”
“At one point it did sort of prompt a thought in my head, ‘Boy, don’t you have a war to run here?’”
“He was really fun to be around,” McKelvey agreed. “I met him at a party and he was just a lot of fun to talk to and I can see how intoxicating it would be. … He was a total flirt, both with men and with women. You know, people respond to it. They like to be flattered and he was good at it.”
McKelvey had also noted that “classified information is used as a pickup line” in Washington, but would not give Kurtz any specifics.
“I really can’t reveal anything more than that,” she chuckled.
Watch this video from CNN’s State of the Union, broadcast Nov. 18, 2012.