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NH veteran says Petraeus right to resign

New Hampshire Union Leader

November 10. 2012 10:19PM
Saying that he had shown "extremely poor judgment," CIA Director David Petraeus, seen in this 2010 file photo, a retired general popular on both sides of aisle, resigned Friday, ((Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT)

MANCHESTER -- A New Hampshire man who served in both the military and in the Central Intelligence Agency says General David Petraeus did the honorable thing by stepping down as director of the CIA.

Like Petraeus, John Lohmann, of Grantham joined the CIA after serving in the Army.

He is a retired lieutenant colonel who joined the military in the ROTC program at Boston College while an undergraduate and worked for the intelligence agency for 12 years following his military retirement.

"I cannot subtract in any way from the achievements that Gen. Petraeus has gained," Lohmann said. "He is an American hero."

Lohmann said he agreed with an assessment made by retired Gen. Jack Keane, who mentored Petraeus during his military service.

"He has shown that he is human," Lohmann said.

The need for a leader in the U.S. intelligence community to be beyond reproach was something Lohmann said Petraeus would not - and could not - ignore.

"He retired in order to maintain the standards of the office," Lohmann said.

"To have somebody performing after something that would be cause for a junior officer to be thrown out because he would be more likely to be subject to blackmail - it's appreciated that he decided that he had to leave."

For Lohmann, Petraeus had to quit, not just because of his personal behavior, but because of the involvement of another person - the coauthor of his autobiography.

"Apparently there is some question as to whether this biographer was also trying to gain access to his personal computer and for that reason, he was in fact endangering the national security," Lohmann said.

Congressional questions

Members of Congress continue to seek additional information about the CIA's actions in protecting and defending the U.S. Embassy in Libya, and Petraeus had been scheduled to testify this week before the Senate and House Select Committees on Intelligence.

Timing concerns

"The timing on his departure was such that it casts a shadow on the action on his part," Lohmann said.

In the end, Lohmann said the resignation must be measured against the expectations that people who work in the intelligence community know they must meet.

"It is a simple fact that when we came into the agency, we were all told to uphold the highest standards," Lohmann said.

"Obviously he failed in this case and he did the honorable thing by resigning."

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