There’s nothing like a sex scandal to weaken the standing of a Washington power broker.
Take David Petraeus, the former CIA director and a retired star general of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
The once-widely admired Petraeus was slated to place in the top 10 of the inaugural Top 100 Most Influential People in U.S. Defense, released today by the sister trade publications Defense News and Army Times.
The preliminary ranking had to be revised after Petraeus admitted to a sexual affair and resigned his CIA post. He plunged to No. 100 on the list.
That rating makes him less influential than Army Private First Class Bradley Manning, who has been charged with leaking classified documents to the Wikileaks anti-secrecy website. Manning came in at No. 60.
Marine General John Allen, the top commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, who got caught up in the Petraeus investigation, also fell down the list after e-mails he wrote to a Tampa, Florida, socialite surfaced as part of the probe. He dropped from the top 10 to No. 34.
And then there’s Christopher Kubasik, who had been tapped to head Lockheed Martin Corp. He was sure to make the list as head of the world’s largest defense contractor– until he suddenly resigned last month after acknowledging a relationship with a subordinate.
“Instead of having the bully pulpit afforded to the chief of the world’s biggest defense contractor, he became a nonfactor, tumbling right off the list,” Defense News said in an article explaining its results.
Petraeus, while coming in dead last, nonetheless made the cut.
“Petraeus survives at No. 100 because of his many (accolades) throughout the military and because history shows that rarely does such an aggressive, ambitious and dynamic leader remain in the shadows for long,” the paper said.
So who topped the list?
White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon is No. 1, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta comes in second and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton comes in third.