CIA director Petraeus quit on Friday after admitting an affair with his biographer.
His is but the most recent in an embarrassment of splashy scandals: Senator Vitter of Louisiana, exposed in 2009 as the client of high-priced prostitutes; Representative Weiner of New York, who confessed in 2011 to sending explicit photographs to women; senator Ensign of Nevada, who resigned last year after admitting to an illicit affair with a staffer. Representative Souder of Indiana quit in 2010 after an anonymous tipster exposed his relationship with a staff member with whom he had taped a video promoting sexual abstinence.
Representative Lee of New York left office the same year after e-mailing a photograph of himself, shirtless, to a woman he met on Craigslist.“It shocks me how people continue in this type of reckless behavior, even in prominent leadership positions, and don’t seem to think there’s going to be a consequence,” said Wesley O. Hagood, who wrote a compendium of presidential dalliances. “If they’d just turn on the news, they’d know there’s going to be a consequence.”
Petraeus was tripped up by an FBI probe that stumbled on his extramarital relationship. But in a digital era when the details of even average citizens are cached for public view, the odds of exposure have become exponentially greater. NYT