Yesterday, David Petraeus sent a letter to CIA employees announcing his resignation after an extramarital affair. But it was another letter, written to New York Times ethicist Chuck Klosterman in July, that captured the attention of the Twitterverse last night.

From the New York Times:

My wife is having an affair with a government executive. His role is to manage a project whose progress is seen worldwide as a demonstration of American leadership. (This might seem hyperbolic, but it is not an exaggeration.) I have met with him on several occasions, and he has been gracious. (I doubt if he is aware of my knowledge.) I have watched the affair intensify over the last year, and I have also benefited from his generosity. He is engaged in work that I am passionate about and is absolutely the right person for the job. I strongly feel that exposing the affair will create a major distraction that would adversely impact the success of an important effort. My issue: Should I acknowledge this affair and finally force closure? Should I suffer in silence for the next year or two for a project I feel must succeed? Should I be “true to my heart” and walk away from the entire miserable situation and put the episode behind me?


Coincidence … or something juicier?

Perhaps, but why spoil the fun of speculating about whether Paula Broadwell’s cuckolded husband passive-aggressively sought advice from the New York Times? Plus, we get to use the word “cuckolded.” Win-win.

Klosterman advised the letter-writer not to “expose the affair in any high-profile way” if the government exec wasn’t promoting a “family-values platform.” He added, “The fact that you’re willing to accept your wife’s infidelity for some greater political good is beyond honorable.”

Whether it was indeed Broadwell’s husband or some other betrayed spouse, one thing’s certain:

Not that we were really counting on the Fishwrap of Record for ethical advice.


The letter to The Ethicist is not about the Petraeus affair, according to Hugo Lindgren, editor of The New York Times Magazine.

So, based on the Times’ “factchecking,” which government executive was the letter about? Hmm?