Morning Joe | November 15, 2012
>>> rick stengel is here. "time's" managing editor with the new cover of "time" magazine. and i wish we could cover the conversations we have during the commercial break about the cover. so get going on the cover and continue this discussion.
>> you're outing us.
>> there's no privacy here. i'm aware of that. and unfortunately, the cia director was not aware of that. but the cover is "the petraeus affair." and it's more than just the sort of tawdry " real housewives of tampa and north carolina " story. it's really about how the context of a new administration, a second term with the secretary of state leaving with now the cia director leaving, with all of the whole national security apparatus leaving, this scandal comes at a really terrible time for the obama administration and has all kinds of international security implications, apart from the, as i say, the more tawdry qualities.
>> that's your word, "tawdry." i would use "compelling."
>> it's such a compelling human drama .
>> and it's one of these human dramas in terms of what we do for a living, write about the everything and everything like that, if seems each hour of each day, there's another nugget that becomes uncovered and part of the tale itself.
>> so in the break, we were talking about the nugget that opens the story which is by bart gelman how the aspen security forum last summer where paul wipaula broadwell was speaking. she left to go take a secret run with lance armstrong where she -- her main goal was to persuade lance armstrong as a 60th birthday gift for her friend, david petraeus , to do a workout with him in washington. now, lance armstrong said yes. she actually feeted about this run with armstrong. but of course his birthday came right at the time he was submitting his resignation to the president. so no bike ride.
>> andrea, one of the elements of the story that is kind of disturbing i think to a lot of people is, you know, separate ourselves from the scandal and the sex involved and everything like that. there is a war continuing each and every day with young americans fighting that war in afghanistan . and it seems a story like this only adds to the separation between an officer corps when you get way up top hike petraeus that is increasingly distant in the minds of many of the young men and women whose boots are on the ground.
>> in fact, secretary panetta, in asia this morning, commented on that. he was asked again about this whole situation. and he said he wants americans to realize that we have 1,000 general officers in the u.s. military and that the vast majority of them, in secretary panetta's words, live akoshding according to the highest standards of integrity. you saw the push/pull, the sort of ambivalence in the president's posture at the news conference yesterday where he praised the extraordinary service of david petraeus , and that is certainly the feeling. but there was tension within the administration toward petraeus because there was blame for the briefing that susan rice got, that it came from the cia . there was also blame from his nominal boss, james clapper , the general who's the head of the director of national, that clapper really did not like and others in the administration did not like the cia 's pushback. petraeus wanting to defend the agency against what they felt he felt was unfair criticism over benghazi. so interestingly, benghazi is sort of the center of the tension among that national security foreign policy team in the days leading up to the revelation unwelcome and surprising and shocking to the president two days after he was re-elected because it happened.
>> all of this tension, too, within the administration now between the justice department , between the fbi --
>> -- and the cia . this question of whether to tell the president, when to tell the president --
>> whether to tell anyone.
>> along those lines --
>> they made a decision which i think will come in ultimately for a fair amount of criticism which is the decision not to tell the president about it.
>> i want to ask andrea a question, not a glib question but a serious question because you have covered powerful men for the last chunk of years, of all walks of life. i want to redirect to what's important. is it fair to say we should not in any way be surprised when men of power, conquers, village leaders are also womanizers, that one could argue that goes with the profile, and can we stop going -- when it happens?
>> frankly, you know, that's what foreign diplomats have been saying in the last days, you know, what is the big problem here? i was seeing some ambassadors in washington the other day. the problem, arguably, the critics would say, is that this is national security . this is intelligence. and that there is a higher standard demanded of the head of the cia . that's what those who argue that the fbi handled it correctly.
>> you can't have the director -- i take your point, and if this were the secretary of agriculture, i think you'd say it's private business and not the cover of "time" magazine material. but the whole point in the cia is that their agents cannot be susceptible to blackmail, they cannot be susceptible to any of that stuff, and therefore the director can't be because by example. and then of course for allen on the military side who's not been accused of anything wrong yet, there's an absolute military code, law.
>> i'm not saying in this incident, i'm just saying overall as we cover it and will be the next story, let's not be surprised.
>> everyone says that there was nothing untoward going on with allen, that it's just that they needed to investigate it because his nomination was up for nato.
>> and part of the other thing is, donny, you're a moral leader when you're the head of an organization like that.
>> i got it.
>> you're being asked to make enormous sacrifices.
>> i got it. i'm just saying overall, we just have to stop acting surprised.
>> do known i, you basically think every man out there is doing this?
>> no, psychologically the profile of leaders, it almost makes sense that they end up feeling entitled and that women are drawn to them.
>> is that wishful thinking?
>> i harken back to personal experience.
>> i just speak the truth.
>> the new cover of "time" is "the petraeus affair." rick stengel, thanks very much for joining us. andrea mitchell , thanks very much.
>> no, don't let her go. the whole thing got elevated when she showed up.
>> who's on at 1:00?
>> kelly ayotte , the israeli ambassador with everything that's happening, kent conrad on the budget, a powerful show.
>> and donny deutsch .
>> and donny deutsch to talk about sex, lies and videotape.
>>> when we come back, one man's effort to photograph the photographic, james bale next on " morning joe ."