The Petraeus affair, say leading journalists, may wind up exposing a culture of conflict between intelligence agencies in Washington.
Sometimes a sex scandal is just a sex scandal. But the fall of CIA Director David Petraeus does raise larger questions about the scope of the FBI's role and the relationships between the intelligence agencies.
"I've covered this story 50 times," said NBC News' Chuck Todd. Powerful man meets adoring fan, and the rest is history.
However, the Petraeus story could have long legs if it ends up shedding light on the tensions within intelligence community, journalists speaking at The Atlantic's Washington Ideas Forum suggested.
For one thing, it's eyebrow-raising that the FBI could launch such a comprehensive investigation into the e-mail records of high level officials and private citizens "with almost no pretext," said Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg News.
Petraeus' fall has also become tied in, somewhat, with ongoing Republican demands for a fuller explanation of the September attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya. Although Petraeus will be heading up to the Hill on Friday to testify on the matter, the revelation that the former CIA Director conducted an extramarital affair has no direct connection to the deaths of four Americans in North Africa.