Morning Joe | November 14, 2012
>> all right. morning. it's wednesday, november 14th . i'm mike barnicle in for joe, mika and willie. joining us on set nbc news peter alexander off the road covering the romney campaign.
>> you forgot to shave.
>> i know, i did, i woke up late and forgot. national affairs editor and political analyst john heilemann, "time" senior political analyst mark halperin and assistant editor and columnist for "the financial times ," jillian tet. the contest for viewers to figure out whose career will implode on the set because of something said or done. it won't be yours because you're much too cautious. it won't be yours. my candidate is john heilemann.
>> i'm the front-runner, although they made it -- supposedly donny deutsch was supposed to be here today, and whatever, he's drunk or, you know, wherever he is, rehab.
>> 9-5 odds.
>> if donny had been here, you know, the career demolition thing would have been close to 100% likely, both of us going down in a flaming heap of muck.
>> donny didn't want to be here because he didn't want to get adored sitting in a coffee shop on madison avenue which he does nearly every morning. here we are. it's going to be a good show. peter?
>>> president obama is scheduled to hold his first post-election news conference, expected to face a barrage of questions about general david petraeus 's admitted affair, the time line of this investigation and when exactly the president was told about it. meanwhile, the white house says the president still has faith in john allen , the current u.s. commander in afghanistan who is now under investigation by the pentagon's inspector general for what officials describe as potentially inappropriate e-mails with one of the women directly involved in the case. nbc 's chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell , has more on an ever-widening story.
>> reporter: the scandal involving two very different women, tampa socialite jill kelley and petraeus biographer and former mistress paula broadwell ensnared not only petraeus but his successor. marine general john allen who took over from petraeus in afghanistan and is the president's choice to be supreme allied commander of nato forces in europe, a nomination now temporarily on hold.
>> thank you for all that you have done, for me and for our precious daughters.
>> reporter: the general is married with a sterling record. but on a flight to australia monday night, aides to defense secretary leon panetta disclosed a dramatic turn in the petraeus case. fbi investigators had uncovered what the pentagon called potentially inappropriate communications between the general and jill kelley whom he and his wife got to know in tampa and were revealing between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of documents including e-mails over two years. officials say some were flirtatious, but the general strongly denies an improperthe fbi discove red the e-mails during its investigation of kelley 's e-mails, sparked by her complaints about anonymous threats which turned out to be from paula broadwell . they say they found no wrongdoing by general allen but turned the files over to the pentagon which monday ordered its inspector general to investigate. a social link between the two four-star generals, jill kelley who enjoyed socializing with the powerful in tampa while doing volunteer work for military families. she also gave people the impression she had some kind of state department status which officials say she does not. in fact, last weekend, she called police complaining about media visitors including nbc . at one point invoking diplomatic-type privileges.
>> i am an honorary consul - general , so i have inviablity. they're on private property . i don't know if you want to get diplomatic protection involved as well.
>> reporter: kelley 's friendship with both generals had benefits. in september petraeus and allen both wrote letters to the court handling kelley 's twin sister 's bitter child custody case to vouch for the sister. another friend of kelley 's, the fbi agent who helped launch the investigation that eventually forced petraeus to resign. he is now the subject of an ethics inquiry after the fbi found he had sent kelley pictures with his shirt off. months before the fbi was brought onto the case.
>> that was nbc 's andrea mitchell reporting. some lawmakers are defending -- demanding that petraeus testify at some point about the deadly attack at the u.s. consulate in benghazi which he independently investigated. by the way, we'll be handing out those license plates at the end of the broadcast.
>> you could partner next to the ballpark.
>> the honorary consul .
>> ain't nothing better than in invioability.
>> this is something you can get on demand like watching "homeland." you were shaking your head, though.
>> i must admit, i am mesmerized by this. this is a week where we're supposed to be all talking about the fiscal cliff, the deficit, but the reality is talking about the fiscal cliff and tax reform is a bit like eating spinach. you know it's good for you. you know you ought to do it. it's actually quite hard work. whereas now we're given the equivalent of sort of nonstop ice cream sundaes in the media world. it's fascinating and it's a lot of fun to watch but also very tragic in many ways.
>> yeah, tragic is an understatement. there is a war going on in afghanistan . people's lives are still in peril. american lives as well as obviously afghan lives. and this is what we're talking about. the president has a press conference later today , correct?
>> 1:30 eastern time . during " andrea mitchell reports."
>> what's the over/under in terms of time when someone finally gets to something substantive like withdrawal from afghanistan , like the fiscal cliff as opposed to paula broadwell , petraeus and allen ? 15 minutes ?
>> i predict our colleagues will play a game of chicken and in fact start with the fiscal cliff and serious stuff.
>> john's not as optimistic.
>> i think the fiscal cliff will come on the fifth question.
>> that's going to be the spinach, isn't it?
>> someone reached out to me yesterday and said just consider mitt romney had won, he said he'd be focused exclusively on the economy, president-elect for a day and a half and then a sex scandal breaks out with his top generals. that would have been interesting to see how governor romney handled that moment.
>> the other aspect of this story that i assume the country will get to, the media will get to quite quickly is the surveillance tape. i mean, this is pretty scary stuff. some of your e-mails to me and mine back to you, i don't want anybody reading them.
>> yeah, that would be bad. you know, and it's interesting. here's the surveillance -- the architects of the surveillance tape caught up in the surveillance tape. that's the kind of thing that's so fascinating about it.
>> but one of the fascinating degrees is the degrees to which broadwell and petraeus went to lengths to try and stop their e-mails being traced, by using this system of saving in the draft folder in their e-mail accounts and stuff. so they were clearly aware of the risk of being watched. and yet they still went ahead and sent e-mails on an extraordinary scale. and you've got to ask questions about these are people who are trained in intelligence matters, and yet even they can't forget about the dangers of using e-mail. and what does that mean for the rest of us?
>> i know what it means for them. it means that neither one of them knew a 15-year-old who could have told them how to get around having their e-mails discovered.
>> " wall street journal " has some of the fresher reporting today on this including some of the things about the e-mails for those interested in every detail. i recommend you plunk down whatever "the journal" costs.
>> you want to read it while peter continues with the news?
>> we've got information about like the names on the accounts.
>> the level of preparation for this show is fantastic.
>> according to "the wall street journal " miss broadwell writing under the pseudonym " kelley patrol." one word, capital "p." kelleypatrol.
>> i think most americans are surprised to know their e-mails exist for that length of time. i think they think they disappear when they hit delete. clearly that's not the case.
>> to go back to what jillian said, that's the incredible thing. you would have thought that people who were as intimately involved in this, as sophisticated as these people are who were aware that they had something to hide would also have done some rudimentary googling on the question of exactly how difficult it is to get -- to delete e-mail. to get those e-mails out of the cloud, you know. they're on gmail. like today -- yes, it's not classified, and it's also not secure. it's a service owned by another company where things disappear. they didn't think maybe some of these things get archived in places that were not necessarily on your hard drive ? you know, this is not a group of high i.q. people when it comes to the technology that they were using to try to evade the surveillance state that they built. it's amazing.
>> the other thing i find amazing is i remember going through the u.s. treasury in the height of the financial crisis , and back then, you had officials who were scribbling down important facts and figures on scrap paper because that was one of the few things they were able to legally throw away and get rid of. and if you go around other branches of the u.s. government today, people are intensely aware of the risks of e-mails being kept. if you go and talk to private sector banks, nobody working on a bank trading floor these days can possibly not be aware of the risks of tracking thoughts and e-mails. and yet somehow the military just seems not to have noticed this. it is very, very striking.
>> there's one other dedataidetail in this "journal" story, kelley had second thoughts. and people said they made the request, quote, she was worried about the personal information being provided to investigators.
>> like the diplomatic license plates.
>> talk about the horse after it's left the barn door .