Sir — The sudden resignation of the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, David Petraeus, due to an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, includes all the ingredients of a Hollywood potboiler (“Captain America, your pants down”, Nov 14). The Federal Bureau of Investigation began investigating the case after a 37-year-old socialite from Florida, Jill Kelley, approached one of its agents. The Kelleys are known to be family friends of the Petraeus’. But the details of this event were kept under wraps. Even Barack Obama came to know of the matter two days after his re-election as the president of the United States of America.
This discretion exercised on the part of the FBI was in the best interest of the nation. Otherwise, the election process might have been hampered. The revelation might have also affected Obama’s chances for a second term in office.The important aspect that needs to be probed is whether there were any serious security breaches since Petraeus has held several important diplomatic positions. Petraeus had earlier served as commander of the US forces in Afghanistan. After a career in the army spanning nearly four decades, he retired as a general in August last year and was made the CIA director the very next month. Broadwell was reportedly often seen at the CIA headquarters in Virginia. She also accompanied Petraeus to Afghanistan to see in person how the general commanded his forces. His best-selling biography, All In: The Education Of General David Petraeus, was published in January 2012.
Although Petraeus reportedly ended the affair four months ago, the beans were spilled when Kelley started getting harassing e-mails, allegedly from Broadwell (“Out: Petraeus 2nd woman”, Nov 13). On Kelley’s complaint of continuous harassment, the FBI started investigating the matter and stumbled upon the details of the relationship between Petraeus and Broadwell. This probe did not only reveal the specifics of the illicit affair but disgraced the former director of the CIA and brought him down from his pedestal.
The entire episode involving an illicit liaison, a third woman, high military and political stakes and so on comprises the perfect ingredients that go into the making of commercial films.
Ranesh Chandra Dey, Calcutta
Sir — I want to congratulate Bikash Sinha for his excellent article on the Higgs boson (“A field spanning space”, Nov 10) .The recent discovery is likely to connect us to such unknown and mysterious things as ‘dark matter’.
Sinha has explained lucidly the complicated properties of the Higgs boson and how its field acts to create the mass of the ultimate elementary particles, ‘quarks’ and ‘gluons’. Sinha talks about the “euphoria” among the Calcutta youths as he and Rolf Heuer, the director general of Cern, were mobbed by them when the latter recently delivered a lecture in the city. However, the fact that such euphoria nowadays is normally “reserved for the rock stars” shows a waning interest among youngsters in anything that is remotely intellectual.
Satyananda Bhattacherjee, Kharagpur
Sir — After reading Bikash Sinha’s article, I wished I had listened to the lecture delivered by Rolf Heuer in Calcutta University. As a layman, I could only derive the fact that when the Higgs boson interacts with itself, it generates mass. It is also known that the particles coming into the field of the Higgs boson gain mass by interacting with the Higgs’s field. But Sinha should have clarified certain things. For instance, how does one explain the loss of energy in the case of the ‘God’ particle? It would have been better had these points been elaborated to help ordinary readers.
Ashok Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — The Telegraph deserves a box of the best Havana cigars for its masterful spin on Ramachandra Guha’s speech at IIM, Calcutta, that had nothing to do with Mamata Banerjee or West Bengal (“Guha critical of Mamata”, Nov 15). Guha’s speech was more about the fault lines in the Indian polity that need to be addressed before we can spare any thought on becoming a global power. The reference to Bengal was in response to a question — a rather pointed question — raised by a representative of The Telegraph’s sister publication. The Telegraph has ignore a balanced speech for the sake of its own agenda.
Partho Datta, Calcutta