Trump passed on Petraeus for top White House positions over 'red flags' like his opposition to torture, according to leaked documents

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Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, then-commander of U.S. Central Command, explains his leadership strategy during a leadership and counterinsurgency symposium at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., Sept. 23, 2009

(DoD/Petty Officer William Selby)

Former Army Gen. David Petraeus, the former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan who resigned in disgrace as CIA director amid revelations of an extramarital affairs, was passed over by then-president-elect Donald Trump's transition team because of his criticism of torture, according to leaked vetting documents.


The vetting documents, published by Axios on Sunday, consist of the Trump transition team's research into dozens of candidates for cabinet and senior administration officials

Those documents include vetting profiles on Petraeus, who was for a time under consideration for Secretary of State and National Security Adviser; James Mattis, who Trump nominated to serve as Secretary of Defense; and John Kelly, who served as Secretary of Homeland Security before transitioning to the West Wing as Trump's Chief of Staff.

According to Axios, Trump "reviewed many of these documents at Trump Tower and Bedminster before his interviews, according to a source who saw him eyeball them," with giant red subheadings covering topics like:

  • Benghazi ("House Republicans Claimed That Petraeus Misled Them In His September 2012 Testimony On Benghazi")
  • The Iran nuclear deal ("Petraeus Endorsed The Iran Nuclear Deal, And Suggested That Strong Deterrence Was Needed To Ensure Enforcement And Continued Stability After The Deal Expires")
  • Gun control ("Petraeus Supports Increased Gun Control")
  • Energy ("Petraeus Supports Expanding Energy Resources And New Types Of Energy Production")
  • ISIS and U.S. involvement in Syria ("Petraeus Has Implied That The U.S. Will Continue To Have A Role That Will Require Continued Presence In The Middle East Post-ISIS")
And then there's the whole torture section, which is worth highlighting on its own:

This is, of course, unsurprising. Let's recall then-candidate Trump's promise from a February 2017 Republican primary debate: "I would bring back waterboarding, and I'd bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding."

Former Marine Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak put it best: "Disregard for the law undermines our national security by reducing combat effectiveness, increasing the risks to our troops, hindering cooperation with allies, alienating populations whose support the United States needs in the struggle against terrorism, and providing a propaganda tool for extremists who wish to do us harm."

This is fine. Everything is fine.

"It's kind of like the equivalent of dropping a soda can into canyon and putting on a blindfold and going and finding it, because you can't just look down and see it," diver Jeff Goodreau said of finding the wreck.

The USS Eagle 56 was only five miles off the coast of Maine when it exploded.

The World War I-era patrol boat split in half, then slipped beneath the surface of the North Atlantic. The Eagle 56 had been carrying a crew of 62. Rescuers pulled 13 survivors from the water that day. It was April 23, 1945, just two weeks before the surrender of Nazi Germany.

The U.S. Navy classified the disaster as an accident, attributing the sinking to a blast in the boiler room. In 2001, that ruling was changed to reflect the sinking as a deliberate act of war, perpetuated by German submarine U-853, a u-boat belonging to Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine.

Still, despite the Navy's effort to clarify the circumstances surrounding the sinking, the Eagle 56 lingered as a mystery. The ship had sunk relatively close to shore, but efforts to locate the wreck were futile for decades. No one could find the Eagle 56, a small patrol ship that had come so close to making it back home.

Then, a group of friends and amateur divers decided to try to find the wreck in 2014. After years of fruitless dives and intensive research, New England-based Nomad Exploration Team successfully located the Eagle 56 in June 2018.

Business Insider spoke to two crew members — meat truck driver Jeff Goodreau and Massachusetts Department of Corrections officer Donald Ferrara — about their discovery.

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(CIA photo)

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The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.

Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."

That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.

Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.

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"Shoots like a carbine, holsters like a pistol." That's the pitch behind the new Flux Defense system designed to transform the Army's brand new sidearm into a personal defense weapon.

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Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.

For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.

On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."

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