Sadly, yes; you simply cannot make this stuff up.
First is the fact that Jill Kelley was—still is?–an honorary South Korean consul. This is a title the government passes out with some liberality to friends interested in angling for it, a perfect example of adverse selection if there ever was one. Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy provides the goods on this story, which included Kelley’s efforts to invoke diplomatic privilege (“inviobility” [sic]) when reporters started to hound her.
ABC also reports that Kelly claimed it was Petraeus who helped her land the honorary consul title, which she had the temerity to put on her license plate. Adam Victor, president and CEO of TransGas Development Systems—a serious enterprise–was introduced to Kelley, who apparently claimed she would be useful brokering a $4 billion coal gasification deal with Korea. Kelley tried to dangle her connections with Petraeus as her calling card–although it is hard to see why they would have mattered–to extract a 2 percent fee on the deal. Let’s see, that’s $80 million. Hmmm. We’ll get back to you on that.
Some South Korean humorists are having their fun with the scandal. During its routine cartoon editorial on Sunday, South Korea’s MBC Newsdesk (the eight o’clock news) ran a satirical cartoon on the affair. The cartoon shows a former CIA director dancing with a woman named Paula inside a barracks in Afghanistan. Next, it shows an unnamed US General having a video chat with a woman named Kelley. The cartoon then showed two men noting that the recent scandal involved a “love triangle” among the CIA director, a military commander and Kelley.
They also comment that the reason for fewer known cases of sexual scandal in South Korea is officials’ preference for money over romance. The cartoon ends with two men suggesting that the only way to completely eliminate sexual scandals would be to have all high-ranking government positions occupied by women.
On a more serious note, Joe Nocera, at the New York Times, is one of the few to have maintained the appropriate moral compass with respect to the recent events; Nocera’s piece bears not just reading, but real reflection.