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Piers Morgan Live
Petraeus Quits After Admitting Affair
Aired November 12, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Good evening. Breaking news. You're looking live at the White House where on the outside, everything looks calm but behind closed doors, an administration in panic dealing with the Petraeus sex scandal that threatens to spin out of control less than one week after President Obama's re-election.
The big questions tonight. What did the White House know and when did it know it. The four-star general has said to be devastated about the scandal, sparked by his affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. The affair was uncovered during an FBI investigation. The bureau was looking into so-called jealous e-mails reportedly sent by Broadwell to Jill Kelley, a Petraeus family friend.
And tonight, extraordinary breaking news, the "Washington Post" has reported that as President Obama rearranges his national security team, it is considering asking Senator John Kerry to serve as hid next Defense secretary and the "Wall Street Journal" says the FBI agent who launched the original investigation into Petraeus was barred from taking part in the case, in part, for allegedly sending shirtless pictures of himself to a woman involved in the case.
Meanwhile, the ghostwriter of Broadwell's book, "Washington Post's" editor, Vernon Loeb, says he was clueless about the affair between Petraeus and Broadwell.
Well, here now with the latest on the scandal that just keeps getting bigger and more bizarre, CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr and intelligence correspondent, Suzanne Kelly.
Welcome back to you both.
SUZANNE KELLY, CNN INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT Thank you.
MORGAN: When we talked on Friday night, it was all just breaking and it seemed a relatively straightforward scandal but none of us thought it would stay that way, and sure enough, tonight, a really bizarre twist. And it's not -- it's not John Kerry possibly becoming defense secretary, there's nothing bizarre about that at all.
What is bizarre is this revelation in the "Wall Street Journal" and it's reported there, we haven't independently corroborated this, that apparently the FBI agent originally detailed to investigate this scandal ended up sending shirtless pictures of himself to this other woman, the other other woman.
Suzanne Kelly, where do we even start with this?
KELLY: I don't know. I mean -- you know, after doing this story like pretty much nonstop for four days, I keep thinking that we might be finding out the last sort of crazy detail and another one crops up. And I have a feeling, Piers, that that's going to continue to happen for a couple more days. But I don't even know what to make of it. I'll just be honest.
MORGAN: Barbara Starr, can you clear up what we should make of this?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: I think I'm going to vote with Suzanne.
I mean, you know, I don't know. It's Florida. Maybe they were sending pictures of themselves on the beach. The tawdriness grows by the hour, doesn't it? You might think it's Hollywood but it's -- you know, it's really -- the circles of power in Washington, what on earth has been going on?
MORGAN: And what is extraordinary about this.
MORGAN: So we're seeing pictures today of Jill Kelley there leaving her home. What is extraordinary and slightly more sinister and serious, I think, is what happened after this FBI agent reportedly got bounced off the case, because it would appear that he then went to a congressman to report what had happened in the belief that it may now get covered up and that that congressman then took things forward and went higher and at that point, the genie was out of the bottle.
And it could have been that if he hadn't been sending shirtless pictures and hadn't been laid off the case, he would never have gone higher and this genie could have stayed in the bottle.
KELLY: Right. Now that's still going to be one of the unanswered questions, Piers. Why don't -- why don't we take just a quick second, too, to catch up on what we actually know and the timeline of this because you raise a really interesting point. According to a friend of Petraeus, this affair began in November last year, two months after the retired general took the helm at the CIA. It was in May of this year that a government official says Broadwell began sending those threatening e-mails to Jill Kelley.
As she said, she's described as a family friend -- Petraeus. She lives in Tampa but she was being warned apparently to stay away. Now that official tells us that Kelley shared her concerns over the threatening nature of the e-mails with that friend at the FBI and that's what prompted this entire investigation.
But sometime around July, if we're going to talk about a time frame, we know that according to Petraeus' friend, the affair ended and sources are telling CNN Petraeus indicated Broadwell might be obsessed with him and that she may have felt that she was warding off the competition or something of that sort by sending these e-mails to Kelley.
MORGAN: Quite, quite extraordinary details are merging.
I mean, Barbara, if it turns out that this FBI agent was the catalyst for all this, and in fact, almost by default because he had been caught himself behaving improperly, the suggestion then becomes that this FBI investigation was sort of so cock-handed that Petraeus was almost brought down by accident, that it should never really have happened.
STARR: That is what people are looking at, what really was the FBI's initial authority to go in and look at someone's private e- mails. There is no indication at least yet of any criminal wrongdoing, that doesn't seem to be what happened here. But you know, I mean, let's circle back and have a little bit of a reality check here. So he might not have been caught at it, but so what? He still basically by his own admission violated fundamental trust. Maybe the president never would have known. Would Petraeus have stayed in office and let this go on, you know? Would he have told his family. We don't know. We don't know when his family found out. Fundamental violation of trust. Did he only quit because he got found out.
MORGAN: And the other question I think, Barbara, is this, is that the White House is saying they knew nothing about this until two, three days after the election. But we now believe that the investigation was wrapped up at least four days before the election. So somebody is taking a conscious decision not to tell the White House if indeed we believe nobody at the White House ever knew.
And that prompts another question -- or two questions. One, did they deliberately not tell the White House for political expediency, whatever that they thought that may be. And would it have affected the election result? Probably not. But you never know how these things can play out in that febrile few days.
But secondly, the White House position here. The president of the United States would not be told about a four-month investigation into the boss of the CIA, and nor would any of his top officials? An investigation conducted by the FBI? How credible is that?
STARR: Yes -- this is a -- this is a very fundamental problem. By all accounts, the FBI finishes its investigation and just goes on that Tuesday night election night to James Clapper, who is Petraeus' boss. They go through the chain of command, they go to Clapper and say here's what we have found. Clapper goes the next day to the White House staff and the next day, Thursday after the election, the president finds out. OK. So that's going by the book, maybe, but really?
I mean, we've talked about this. You're not going to tell the president of the United States that his CIA director is part of an FBI investigation? Flawed investigation or not, would this not be something that Barack Obama would want to know as fast as possible.
MORGAN: Well, thank you both for now.
I'm going to turn now to somebody who will know probably a few of the answers to these questions.
Attorney General Eric Holder is also caught in the crossfire on this scandal, facing questions about what he knew and why he didn't inform the president and Congress sooner.
Michael Mukasey was an attorney general for President George W. Bush, and he joins me now.
Welcome to you, Michael. What do you --
MICHAEL MUKASEY, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL UNDER GEORGE W. BUSH: Good to see you again. Before we go down this road I just want to --
MUKASEY: -- sort of observe the day by thanking the people in the military, veterans and their families.
MORGAN: Yes. Very much so.
MUKASEY: Who served this country and make discussions like this and debates like we've been having the last couple of weeks possible.
MORGAN: Yes. I totally endorse that. But what do you make of this scandal? Because it seems to get more ridiculous in some ways and yet possibly more serious the more we hear about it.
MUKASEY: Well, it has, as you've pointed, out elements of absurdity to it, elements that as we talked about before would be rejected if they were proffered as part of a forget Hollywood, daytime television soap opera. Those I think are secondary. Those are things like how did the investigation get started and the shirtless FBI agent and all of that sort of thing.
Taking it, though, a step further, the question of whether the president was informed and if not, why not. Those questions I think are fundamental.
MORGAN: Right. Go back to when you were attorney general. Would you have felt an obligation to inform the president or somebody senior in the White House if you got wind of this kind of scandal enveloping the boss of the CIA?
MUKASEY: Well, easy to say what I would have felt. I think there was a protocol in place about who could talk to the White House, the attorney general was definitely one of the -- one of the two people who could under any circumstances and the deputy attorney general was another. The people at the White House that they could talk to were the White House counsel and the deputy White House counsel.
You don't have to wait until an investigation is over and concluded before it has implications for national security, as this one did. To have a CIA director under investigation and knowing about it is something that I think in and of itself would have made it necessary to notify the White House, i.e., the president.
MORGAN: Do you believe that nobody at the White House knew until a few days ago?
MUKASEY: Want a one-word answer to that? No. I don't. And part -- I'm sad to say that, because they've denied it. Part of the reason I'm sad to say that is -- has to do with other things that surround this, including principally Benghazi. The fact is that the White House, for some time, was purveying a story about Benghazi that simply wasn't true. In part they say they relied on some things that General Petraeus told them. It will be interesting to find out about that. And I think General Petraeus eventually will testify.
MORGAN: The conspiracy theorists are saying that one of the reasons that he fell on his sword wasn't necessarily just the affair but to prevent him giving evidence into Benghazi.
MUKASEY: Well, it won't -- it won't prevent him from giving evidence because he can be subpoenaed regardless of whether he is currently the CIA director or he's the former CIA director. I don't think that's the reason because I think he's much more intelligent than to believe that.
MORGAN: People are saying it's just extraordinary that the FBI would even be investigating something that on the face of it appeared so trivial. You have this woman, Miss Kelley, and she apparently is receiving harassing e-mails but it's being made clear from leaks tonight these were not of a "I'm going to kill you" threatening nature. They were just accusing her of, you know, being a bit too big for her boots around the army camp and so on. That kind of tone of e- mail. It seems to me --
MUKASEY: It sounded as if they were accusing her of more than that. I mean possibly being to big for her clothing. But go ahead.
MORGAN: Right. Either way, we're not talking about sinister death threats. Why would the FBI be involved in this anyway?
MUKASEY: The FBI is supposed to investigate predicated federal crimes. And they don't know when they start an investigation precisely whether the evidence ultimately will show that there was a crime. I don't know what they were told initially by this woman, or what they were told by anybody who was friendly with her, who had the ear of somebody at the -- at the bureau. But with great respect, that's one of those subsidiary questions.
It's an interesting if not then would this all have happened. That's sort of the Cleopatra's nose theory. If she had an ugly nose, would history have been different. That's an interesting question to discuss but I don't think it's a fundamental one.
MORGAN: This revelation that apparently the investigation was concluded four days before the election clearly somebody has decided, whoever that may be, and I'm sure we'll find out in the forms of time, that the information should not be passed to the White House, although I share your concern about the White House's blanket denial they knew anything about this. But assuming the president himself wasn't told, in terms of the politics of that, who would really gain?
Because he was kind of a bipartisan figure, Petraeus, lauded equally by Republicans and Democrats although you could argue that he was appointed to the CIA director's job by the president and therefore the president stood most to lose, would you think?
MUKASEY: Well, I don't think he stood to lose directly from this man's personal problem and personal tragedy, I might add. I think rather, the events surrounding Benghazi were the only issue on which he stood to lose, and that I think is where the focus ought to be. If there's nothing there, there's nothing there. But that I think is where the focus ought to be.
MORGAN: On everything we know right now, do you think Petraeus was right to resign?
MUKASEY: Because he doesn't -- I mean, this has been analogized to other powerful men who have had mistresses from, you know, Lucy Mercer, FDR, to on and on and on. Eisenhower's driver and so forth. He's different. This was -- Mike Hayden, former head of the -- of the CIA, pointed this out. He commands that agency not simply by virtue of being the director because he can't necessarily know everything about what goes on in that building.
That building is a hall of mirrors and a lot persuasion and the influence that he has is a moral suasion and a morel influence, and once something like this gets exposed, that gets lost. And once that gets lost, then his authority as CIA director and his usefulness is compromised.
MORGAN: Michael Mukasey, fascinating stuff. Thank you very much for coming in.
When we come back, more on the FBI agent, the shirtless photos. I'll ask his former assistant director John Miller what this all means.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: With regard to the timing, I -- right. It's mysterious. I really don't have insight into it. It appears that the bureau was balancing the law enforcement process, the privacy of some individuals involved. Hanging out there is that requirement in law to keep the intelligence committees fully and currently informed about significant intelligence activities. (END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Former CIA director Michael Hayden talking to FOX News. So how serious is this scandal and should it have come to light sooner.
Joining me now is John Miller, a former assistant director of the FBI, a senior correspondent at the CBS News.
John, welcome. What do you make of this? Tell me about the relationship here in the scandal between the FBI and the CIA. Many people are saying what on earth is going on. FBI investigating some weird complaint from a woman about getting some dodgy e-mails. How has that led to a full-fledged investigation that brings down the CIA director?
JOHN MILLER, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI: You couldn't have made this story up.
MORGAN: You really couldn't. Good.
MILLER: It doesn't start that way. I mean, it starts in the strangest way, because you have a woman who has these harassing e- mails, a couple of which mention David Petraeus, but they're not threatening to her, nor are they accusing anyone of having an affair. So she has these annoying e-mails but, you know, they mention things that are personal information about her that she finds disturbing so she goes to an FBI agent she knows and she says, can I get this investigated?
And that agent brings her into the Tampa field office and the Tampa field office has a cybersquad that does criminal work, and they look at it, and they say, well, gee, you know, there's no threat here and the agent says well, can we investigate this for this -- they open the statute book and they look up the harassment part of the statute and say all right, we have a basis to open a case here.
First, let's find out who -- who is on the other end of these e- mails. And then over time, they're able to identify it's Paula Broadwell. Then they figure out who Paula Broadwell is and at that point, you know, the case -- the aperture of the case starts to open because they starts to say well, what's this e-mail account, what's this other e-mail account that's talking to it, let's subpoena the rest of the e-mails and start going through them, and piece it together because some of the conversations are cryptic.
MORGAN: I mean it seems that the crucial twist in the tale which has emerged tonight is that this original FBI agent who was already friendly with Miss Kelley, he then gets taken off the case for inappropriate behavior, for supposedly sending shirtless pictures of himself to her, to the woman who has come to him to investigate, and because of that, he then feels disaffected and goes to a congressman, at which point the whole balloon goes up, right?
MILLER: OK. So he was never on the case. He doesn't work on the cybersquad. It's not his violation to investigate. The reason he brought her to those agents was that's the squad that does this work. It's beyond his expertise. He's in an intelligence group that does other things. So his job was really to make the introduction but it also appears that he is either seeking or trying to have some kind of odd relationship with this person that he's -- that he's trying to help, Miss Kelley.
So he wasn't taken off the case. What happens is, as the information gets to -- is -- has Miss Broadwell, is she having an affair with David Petraeus, has she potentially compromised his e- mail? Because another thing we have to focus on here is David Petraeus was never the target of the investigation, Paula Broadwell was.
MILLER: For alleged stalking.
MILLER: Ad then maybe compromising the director of the CIA's e- mail which they found out later that actually is not what happened. So as this rises to the level of the director of the central intelligence agency, this is now reported up to FBI headquarters which says the prudent thing, which is well, first thing we need to do is let's keep a tight hold on this until we figure out what we have.
So as this agent, who was the friend of Miss Kelley, is inquiring what's new with the case, what's new with the case, what's new with the case, at some point he's cut off. He's not thrown of the case, was never on it, but he is getting information on the case. He's apparently funneling it back to Miss Kelley. Miss Kelley is apparently later funneling some of that information to David Petraeus, saying, you know what -- this is an investigative nightmare.
If you're trying to run a case and you've got information from the investigation going out to one of the victims --
MORGAN: And where do shirtless pictures come into -- into the scene?
MILLER: You know --
Remember when we said you couldn't have made this case up? So I don't know what that is, but it's not necessarily appropriate conduct for an FBI agent dealing with somebody who he is dealing with as the victim of a crime.
MORGAN: You don't say, John. No, it isn't appropriate. And whether he's technically involved or not --
MILLER: I also got to go with Barbara which is, I don't know, was this a picture from his Facebook page, it's down in Tampa, they all live on the beach, was it a picture of him at the beach, you know, with a surfboard. I don't know. MORGAN: But in terms of --
MILLER: But it certainly doesn't sound like it's within the comfort zone --
MILLER: -- of how an FBI agent should be relating to the victim at the time.
MORGAN: But in terms of the information flow, it's him being disaffected, then taking it to a congressman.
MILLER: OK. So --
MORGAN: That has triggered the next level.
MILLER: Right. And that -- that's what happened. So now he is not getting information out of the case. And if you've ever sat around with agents who are outside the information, they start to theorize and one of those discussions might well have gone, well, now the thing has gone to headquarters and you know, we're not getting anything back, it must mean, you know, they buried it, they're sitting on it. Either way he's not getting exposure so he elects apparently unilaterally to go forward and reach out to a congressman that he used to know when that congressman was in law enforcement and that congressman reaches out to Cantor and then Cantor calls the FBI, which basically says if we do have a matter and it's time to tell somebody about it, we'll tell the proper people at the proper time.
MORGAN: Right. So this comes on the crucial --
MILLER: So this agent now has -- you know, he's looking at whistleblower protection.
MILLER: He realizes he has a problem within the FBI.
MORGAN: But the crucial question then is, who should have told the White House? Michael Mukasey, who has been attorney general himself, says he just doesn't believe, frankly, that nobody at the White House knew. I find it almost incredible, literally incredible, that nobody at the White House knew for four months that David Petraeus was being investigated by the FBI. This doesn't have to --
MILLER: OK. Well, now --
MORGAN: Ring of truth to it. MILLER: Now we have to back up. David Petraeus was not being investigated by the FBI. David Petraeus, the director of the CIA, surfaced in an FBI investigation into stalking by a woman who wrote his biography. So we've got to maintain that perspective because the minute David Petraeus becomes the real target of an investigation for anything criminal, that would rise to the level of we have to make a notification.
Whether or not David Petraeus having an affair with a woman who wrote a book on him might not rise to that level of notification because it says you have to notify the intelligence committees about any significant intelligence activities --
MORGAN: So from all you know, do you believe fundamentally they should have gone to the White House earlier?
MILLER: I think this is actually an open question even at the FBI, which is if we had life to live over, would we have done it differently. I think what they did at the time is as far as timing and the election, nobody would have said you have to hurry up and finish this before the election. Remember, the last interview I think with Broadwell might have been done as early as the first few days of November.
So I think, in my experience, when I was in the room, and people would say, should we have this done before the hearing, should we do this before the election, what the director always said in those meetings when I was present was, you run the -- you run the case at the pace the investigation needs to run at. Don't worry about the politics. We'll fend off the politics. And to keep the FBI out of that kind of thing.
So if they do the last interview on the first days of November, let's say they then write up the case, somebody reviews it and says, who do we notify and they say well, this is a personnel matter which is the director of the CIA had an affair, didn't pass classified information, didn't break the law, didn't commit a crime.
MILLER: But we're going to have to tell his boss, the director of national intelligence, who I also worked for. Now the director of national intelligence from there on decides, am I going to recommend he quits, am I going to call the White House? Those decisions are his. The last qualifier here is the FBI doesn't do White House notifications. Except on matters of terrorism. But a formal notification has to go through the Department of Justice. So that's another step along the way here.
MORGAN: Well, it's a fascinating case, John Miller. Thanks for unraveling the details for us. I'm not sure we're any the wiser to knowing the real story here nor are you probably, from the sound of it. But --
MILLER: But you still couldn't make it up.
MORGAN: You couldn't make it up.
MORGAN: John Miller, thanks very much.
Who is the real David Petraeus? When we come back, a general, lieutenant colonel and a Petraeus detractor go head-to-head on the scandal and the price the administration will possibly pay.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAULA BROADWELL, AUTHOR, "ALL IN": When I realized the opportunity I had to tell this message, to present this portrait of strategic leadership, you know, it's not a hagiography. I'm not in love with David Petraeus. But I think he does present a terrific role model for young people, for executives, for men and women.
No matter what, there's a great role model there who's values- oriented, who speaks the truth to power.
MORGAN: Paula Broadwell calling David Petraeus a role model. How things have changed. Joining me now is General Mark Kimmitt who has known General Petraeus for 25 years, also Michael Hastings, Buzzfeed reporter and writing for "Rolling Stone." He says America should have never trusted Petraeus in the first place. And Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, a former Defense Intelligence officer who also served with the CIA. Welcome to you all.
General Kimmitt, let me start with you. You've known General Petraeus for 25 years. Do you recognize the man that you've been reading about for the last 24 hours?
GEN. GEORGE KIMMITT, FMR. DIRECTOR, PLANS & STRATEGIES, CENTRAL COMMAND: Well, in many ways, I do, because with this one exception of this incident that he had with Paula Broadwell, I think the fact that this was a guy that stood up when the facts became known, did the honorable thing and resigned. That's the David Petraeus that I know.
MORGAN: Should a general in his position, who has moved on to run the CIA, have to resign his post over an affair, which is really what this seems to have been about?
KIMMITT: My opinion, yes. Any commander of an organization who is caught in that kind of compromising behavior, someone who is supposed to set the standards and enforce the standards for that organization, when he is caught in a compromising position, he's got to do the honorable thing and step down. I think Attorney General Mukasey mentioned that as well. And I stand behind those comments as well.
Any commander that has lost the trust and confidence of his unit has to stand down. MORGAN: Michael Hastings, in your Buzzfeed article, "The Sins of General David Petraeus," you argue that Petraeus was a master of deception. Do you think he should have resigned?
MICHAEL HASTINGS, "ROLLING STONE": I think there's many other reasons Petraeus should have resigned besides who he's sleeping with that's not his wife. But I just want to make a point here. The larger point that I've been making is that essentially the media has played a role in protecting David Petraeus and promoting David Petraeus and mythologizing David Petraeus.
We saw it here tonight. General Kimmitt, who was a spokesperson in Baghdad, who was a roommate of Petraeus, who was involved in one of the biggest debacles in recent foreign policy history, is on TV defending David Petraeus without actually addressing the real problems with David Petraeus' record.
Those are the fact that he manipulated the White House into escalating Afghanistan. He ran a campaign in Iraq that was brutally savage, included arming the worst of the worst, Shiite death squads, Sunni militiamen. And then you go back to the training of the Iraqi army program that also had similar problems.
So for me, all the while, he's going around the country talking about honor and integrity. So for me the questions of honor and integrity -- I was raising those earlier. A number of other journalists who were actually covering David Petraeus were raising those concerns. You might not get that from someone like Barbara Starr at CNN, who essentially is a spokesperson for the Pentagon in many ways.
So I think I just want to step back and have my piece, because this -- even the way the scandal is being covered is so different than how usual sex scandals are being covered, where they hammer the guy mercilessly. Now everyone is saying oh, my God, he just went to the CIA; how could he be -- you know, he was susceptible to being seduced by this woman.
Give me a break. Petraeus now has all his allies coming out to defend him, where Paula Broadwell is there yet again -- where are her protectors?
MORGAN: Barbara is not a spokesperson for him, obviously. Let's move to --
HASTINGS: Not too obviously. I have followed her coverage pretty closely as she has covered my work before, too.
MORGAN: Just because she's written naughty things about you doesn't make her a spokesperson.
HASTINGS: No. What makes her a spokesperson is repeating without question a lot of Pentagon claims.
MORGAN: Well, you've made a lot of claims which are equally contentious tonight. So you're getting a platform to have your claims.
HASTINGS: You asked me to be here. You asked me to be here to make these claims.
MORGAN: But for you to dispute everybody else's claims as being nonsense and only yours to be the correct ones, if I may say so, is cheeky.
HASTINGS: -- claims they have made over the years about General Petraeus have been a lot of nonsense, Piers. And that's fact. Read Bob Woodward's book.
MORGAN: It's not a fact that everybody agrees with you about it. That's my point. These are contentious analysis of a controversial, quite polarizing figure, but who, to many people, remains a hero.
Let me go to Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona. You have heard both sides of the Petraeus coin. What did you see here?
LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, U.S. AIR FORCE (RET): Do I get to arbitrate that?
MORGAN: Yes, why not?
FRANCONA: I think there are good points on both sides. The general is absolutely right. I think General Petraeus did a great job in the field, contrary to what Michael has said. I think he did a good job in Iraq, a good job in Afghanistan.
But I'm not sure he was the right person to head up the Central Intelligence Agency. He doesn't have the right kind of background for that. Sure, he brings the -- what we thought was going to be this trust and integrity and leadership to the position. And that's gone away very quickly.
But I think -- I don't think he was the right man for the job. It might not have been the right fit.
That said, this resignation may give us an opportunity to find out what really happened in Benghazi. And I think that's what lies -- underlies all of this. I think the timing is a little bit suspicious, but I'm willing to forego that if what all these FBI people are saying, that there's no criminal activity -- he didn't need to resign. He chose to do the right thing.
But he's the go-to guy on what happened in Benghazi. I hope that at some point, we get beyond all this sex and we get into what happened out there.
MORGAN: OK. General Kimmitt, I must give you the last word because you started in such a civilized manner and then basically everything you said got trashed. So respond to what Mr. Hastings was saying.
KIMMITT: It's simple. To suggest that he was not successful in Iraq belies the facts. I was there three days ago. I've been in Baghdad for the last two weeks. It is a much different place than it was when David Petraeus took over there. There is calm. There is --
HASTINGS: -- Lying to the American people every day. In 2006, he said there was progress in Iraq. I was in Iraq there, man. Don't try to spin. You guys are letting him spin.
MORGAN: Let him have his say, please.
KIMMITT: Listen, I was over there as a private businessman. I have been going in there for the last nine years, both in uniform and as a State Department official, now as a private individual. And to suggest that Iraq today is the same Iraq that David Petraeus saw when he walked in the door just demonstrates that Michael hasn't been there. And unfortunately it doesn't make the story for him so I can't help him.
HASTINGS: I spent more time in Iraq than you have, man. Come on. Let's be honest, David Petraeus fueled an Iraqi civil war that the Shiites won. We installed a radical Islamist government in Iraq.
I'm glad the general was able to make money of his service now that he's out there, and he can go and get contracts and do business in Iraq. Great. I'm glad American capitalism can get something back from the trillions of dollars and thousands of lives.
MORGAN: OK. This has drifted into --
HASTINGS: As a final note, can I say it's Veterans Day. My younger brother served and I have a lot of great friends who are veterans who have always protected me and taken care of me in some pretty bad places. So my respect to them.
MORGAN: OK. My brothers served, too. I echo that final statement. Thank you both very much, General Kimmitt and Michael Hastings and Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona. This is clearly a contentious matter.
When we come back, a man who has very strong opinions about just about everything, especially the Petraeus scandal, Director Oliver Stone.
MORGAN: Oliver Stone is not exactly the kind of guy who would take anything at face value. He would turn the official story on its head with movies like "JFK" and "Nixon." He has strong feelings about the unfolding Petraeus scandal, too.
In his new project, the book to complement the series, "The Untold History of the United States," he challenges the accepted view of American history. Oliver Stone joins me now.
Welcome back, Oliver. OLIVER STONE, DIRECTOR: Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: I loved our last encounter. We had to bleep a few of your more outrageous comments but that's why I enjoyed it. Let's talk about Petraeus. Because unlike many people casting their verdict on him now, you did that before all this came out. And you were pretty scathing about it. Why were you not a fan of General Petraeus?
STONE: Well, the American media has come up with this narrative that he's the American hero who betrayed by the woman. He takes the fall. It's a classic. It sells well. It's a good soap opera. But it's not true. I see no evidence of his heroism.
There has been no success in Iraq. The so-called surge has been over hyped by the media as a success, when, in fact, Iraq was trashed almost from the beginning to the end, and it was in worse shape when he left. He didn't leave it well.
Then when he went to Afghanistan, he -- first of all, he conned Obama into adding 30,000 troops it was into Afghanistan, with a plan that he would win with this counter-insurgency program. Where is it? Where are the results? They're nonexistent. Afghanistan is worse off.
He's supervised the Predator explosion and the missiles, and into not only Pakistan and also Afghanistan, and he's exacerbated the entire region. And the people who are there are going to hate us more so for civilian damage, collateral damage.
On top of it, you know, he's built up this reputation. First of all, as a military man, I really think he's overdoing it as a showman, because he goes in front of Congress to talk about the counter- insurgency. He's wearing, if you noticed, the ribbons grow every year. He's got now like a regular fruit salad up here. Amazing amount.
And it's disgusting. General Marshall, who was one of the greatest heroes of World War II, is famous for being a modest man, going in front of Congress and wearing hardly anything. You don't need medals.
MORGAN: He had this reputation of King David.
STONE: Very much so.
MORGAN: A lot of people in the forces -- and they didn't always mean it as a compliment. They meant as he was slightly regal.
STONE: America values success. What is success in Iraq and Afghanistan? Can you tell me? He's left -- there have been many weeping widows out there. And it's not worked. Counter-insurgency -- our involvement in a foreign country, whether it's Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq one, Iraq two, it doesn't work.
We go in. We have a lot of money. We make a lot of friends, temporary friends. They know we're leaving. And when we leave, which they know we will leave, they value their lives. So they are our temporary friends.
MORGAN: Were you surprised when Petraeus got the CIA job?
STONE: I was worried about it because he's created again -- the military crossing into the CIA is very dangerous. And obviously it's a political job, but he's made it into a paramilitary force. He's adopted the Predator missiles into the CIA. They're using them as drone attacks, as well as the Pentagon.
Who knows what else he's up to. But certainly his whole concept of counter-insurgency violates the sovereignty of every nation on Earth. It's a very dangerous position we're putting ourselves into weapon-wise.
We can talk about untold history, where we get into the issue of where we're going, America --
MORGAN: I'll get to that. On Petraeus, when the scandal broke about him having a mistress, is that grounds enough --
STONE: In England, it is.
MORGAN: -- for him to resign?
STONE: In England, it is. Our puritan morality dictates it. Certainly it's not the reasons I would like to see him take a fall. It reminds me of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and stuff like that. It's tabloid stuff. You love that in England.
But here in America, the truth is that he should have been long ago investigated far more severely by our media. And he got a free pass because of the fruit salad and the Congressional -- and in general, the entire American nation, the Congress especially, has caved into this military worship of technology.
I've seen that in the last 20 years grow. In the '90s and 2000s, we seem to give a pass always to the military. Whenever they want more money, they get a pass.
MORGAN: The sense I get over here about the military is that it's almost impossible to criticize anyone in the military, because there's such patriotism towards it. And I get that. But it is particularly pronounced in America that it is almost seen as utter disloyalty, if not treachery, to criticize any serving military man or woman. That is quite dangerous, isn't it?
STONE: Very dangerous. You know where it leads to? Rome. Go back to the Roman Empire. The Praetorian Guard became so inflated by budgets, emperors would pay them homage and favors and pay them more money to be loyal to that faction. Eventually the Roman guards, the military became more important than the citizenry.
Of course, they didn't hold up the empire. They are all over the place, but they couldn't hold back the barbarians and so forth. So it doesn't work. You don't bribe the military. Frankly, we could be in a position where if things get more chaotic -- and there could be another terrorist attack and this concept of American security is so violated that the military could act in a very negative way, in an old-fashioned way, to restore order. And you end up with a General Petraeus running the country by certain form of dictatorship.
MORGAN: Take a short break. Let's come back and talk about Barack Obama being re-elected, and also historically where you put him in context in relation to the untold history of the United States and about this fascinating new project you have.
STONE: Well, we deal with --
MORGAN: After the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We live much of our lives in a fog, all of us. But I would like my children to have access to something that looks beyond what I call the tyranny of now. We watch the media. Everyone talks about that thing, the news of the day and all the subconscious, really important stuff that's going on is being neglected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A new project, "The Untold History of the United States," on Showtime. Back with me now is the one and only Oliver Stone. It's a fascinating project. I will come to that very soon.
I just want to talk to you quickly about Obama who got re- elected. You've been quite critical of him too previously. On balance, are you pleased though that he won the election?
STONE: I'm pleased he won the election. I voted for him. It was a better choice than Romney. But both men are operating inside of the economy where American security is paramount and American empire comes first, and the building up of America's power abroad, influence is the primary objective, which falls into the old concept of American empire, which we've had since 1898, since we went to the Philippines.
And it's got worse and worse and worse. And now we just accept it. No one in the argument, in the debate ever questions why we have to have such a big military, why we have to have foreign bases, 800 plus bases, and why we have to -- on top of it, you can talk about what Obama said, that America is the indispensable nation again.
We have heard this rhetoric over the years. It's a very dangerous rhetoric. We're not indispensable. We're not God appointed. We are very -- we should be very humble in the face of the prosperity that we have. But we've used our -- frankly, we've become like the New York Yankees a bit, like a little arrogant. And we're buying what we need. You mentioned Petraeus earlier. I said, maybe the concept of using money in Afghanistan and Iraq to bribe the Sunnis not to join us or to bribe the Shiites to fight -- I mean, it's a dirty thing that we do abroad. And people in America don't know about the dirty wars.
MORGAN: When you research this, how many military conflicts has America been engaged in that you think are justified?
STONE: In terms of conflicts, you mean -- you're talking about little things like Grenada that become big things?
STONE: I think it's about seven or eight major ones, since Vietnam and Korea. Korea was not necessary either. But that's another story. Vietnam starts this beginning of the decline economically in the country and also the infrastructure and the labor markets. The -- how do you say -- where the richest Americans have reached a level which is completely disproportionate to the rest of Americans.
MORGAN: But what was the point of doing this? Why did you want to make this series?
STONE: Boy. It started four and a half years ago. It's the culmination of the themes in my films, because I've been exploring. As I grew up. I found out more about life. I grew up conservative, very Republican. I served in Vietnam, with the belief that I was doing -- fighting communism.
And I saw the repetition of patterns. By the time the 1980s roll around and Reagan comes in and starts talking hostile actions in Central America, and messing with -- interfering with revolutions -- people's revolutions in those countries, I went down there, did a movie called "Salvador." I don't know if you saw it.
MORGAN: Great movie.
STONE: Basically, I saw American troops, just like I had been, a green kid in Vietnam. And I said -- I wondered -- I asked the kids, do you remember Vietnam? They literally said to me, no, I really don't know what happened in Vietnam. The history of Vietnam has been denied to them.
MORGAN: I think it's a fascinating history lesson, because you tell it so vividly. Not just your generation, which is a very interesting way of doing it, but the images that you use, the video you use makes it a compelling history lesson.
STONE: By the way, it's --
MORGAN: That's why I would urge people to watch it, because you will learn about these events, even if you don't necessarily agree with your take on it. STONE: That's true. I learned a lot. And we don't want to make it didactic.. You see, kids are bored with history because they think they know at the end. I don't agree. I don't think we know the end. I think the story that is untold -- because World War II, we started tonight, chapter one, World War II. We see it from three sides, Britain, Russia, the U.S.
It's a whole other ball game when you at three interests, you look at it through other eyes, Russian eyes, English eyes, Chinese eyes.
If you can see history, have empathy for others, other than yourself, you broaden your compassion. And you broaden. And we become a member of the world, of the global community. And this is what Obama has not done.
Now he's basically operating as an outlier now. You asked about our criticism of him. Our criticism is couched in the context of 120 years of history. We started in 1900. We end now. That's a lot.
And we start -- we mentioned Woodrow Wilson, World War I, saying America is the savior of the world, if you remember after Versailles. So we show that this mission to be a global policeman starts a long time ago. But it certainly grows dangerous after the atomic bomb in 1945.
MORGAN: It's a fascinating project. Thoroughly enjoyed the book. It's a riveting history lesson. You bring this stuff to life. I commend you for it. Oliver, good to see you.
STONE: Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: "The Untold History of the United States" airs on Showtime. The book is available now. A thumping good read it is, too. We'll be right back.
MORGAN: And we'll have much more on the Petraeus scandal tomorrow night. Plus the debut of my new CNN colleague, Anthony Bourdain. That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.