In 2008, Eliot Spitzer resigned as governor of New York after he was caught on a federal wiretap booking a room at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington to meet a high-priced prostitute.
At the CIA, the people who guard the director are among the agency’s most highly vetted employees. They not only must pass extensive background checks for security reasons but also must be willing to put themselves in harm’s way to protect the boss. They shadow the director 24 hours a day, at home and abroad, on weekends and holidays. Most of the time, they must “remain in line of sight of the official they are protecting,” according to a description in a General Accounting Office report.
FBI agents searched the North Carolina home of the woman whose affair with retired Gen. David Petraeus led to his resignation as CIA director. A spokeswoman for the FBI says that agents went to Paula Broadwell's home in Charlotte on Monday night.
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Just as important is an ability to fit in and maintain the trust of a public figure they sometimes see in pajamas — or asleep in bed next to his wife if they are required to wake him in an emergency. They witness family arguments, temper tantrums and, once in a while, the emotional breakdowns and extreme fatigue that come with a high-stress job.
Richards, now a sportscaster in Missouri, said it was not unusual to find himself engaged in personal exchanges with his boss, such as when he accompanied one of the directors on long hikes.
“These are very casual moments away from D.C., away from the media,” he said. “You share private moments. There’s bonding and fellowship. You share jokes and stories. That’s how close you become.”
From 1991 to 1999, Richards worked for four CIA directors — Robert M. Gates, James Woolsey, John Deutch and George Tenet. He called Petraeus’s infidelity on the job “unprecedented.”
Richards said that he did not condone Petraeus’s actions on a personal level but that an affair would be a “personal decision. It has nothing to do with the job.”
Only if the relationship created a possible security risk, such as being in an unsafe neighborhood or raising his public profile, would a security officer be required to report it to a supervisor, who would probably take the issue to the CIA’s chief of staff.