David Petraeus’ shady coverupSubmitted by ralph hornsby on Tue, 07/09/2013 - 08:40
It's bad enough that he was getting big bucks for doing nothing. But now the story's gotten fishier
By Corey Robin for Salon
Since J.K. Trotter reported last week that David Petraeus will receive a huge sum from CUNY to teach exactly two courses, the school’s decision has ballooned into a genuine scandal, a veritable second Petraeusgate (the first, you’ll recall, cost him his job as director of the CIA). But while some of the scandal has been reported — i.e., the decision to pay Petraeus an outlandish salary, and the funding sources for the hire — a potential coverup by CUNY administrators has gone largely unnoticed. And CUNY may be about to learn the hard Nixonian truth of that old Watergate adage: It’s not the crime, it’s the coverup.
Gawker broke the story on the morning of July 1 — only, at that time, Petraeus’ salary was reported as $200,000. That number came from documents — in particular, an offer letter from Chancellor Matthew Goldstein of Feb. 22 — that Gawker had obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request.
But then, within hours of the article’s appearance, CUNY released an email from Dean Ann Kirschner to Petraeus, which was time-stamped 1:15 p.m. The email read:
As Bob Barnett [Petraeus’s attorney] has requested, I am memorializing our discussions over the past few months regarding your appointment as Visiting Professor at Macaulay Honors College at $150,000.
Knowing that you have been sought after by other institutions, some of them offering higher salaries, I am particularly grateful that you have agreed to a lower compensation than we originally offered … I am also deeply touched by your decision to donate some of this funding to veterans’ organizations.
Republican State Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a Marine vet from the Iraq War, instantly smelled a rat.