David Petraeus, the retired general and former CIA director, has pleaded guilty to leaking confidential information to his biographer-turned-lover Paula Broadwell. According to reports, he plead guilty to the charge in order to avoid a potentially embarrassing trial that would have delved into his affair with Broadwell. The court filing didn’t mention if Broadwell will also be charged with a crime. The investigation on Petraeus’ charge focused on whether or not he supplied Broadwell with classified information while they were working on his biography, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.
Petraeus signed the plea deal on February 22. According to the filing, the government has agreed that Petraeus will not be serving time in jail and is proposing a sentence of two years’ probation and a $40,000 fine. Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, D.C, thinks that Petraeus is being given a “sweetheart deal” compared to others who are doing time for the same crime.
“It’s hard to reconcile cases like that, and it leads to the conclusion that senior officials are held to a different and more forgiving standard than others.”
Mark Zaid, a lawyer in charge of national security cases, echoes Aftergood’s sentiments. “I’ve got clients being prosecuted for the same things with more severe sentences. They are absolutely getting jail time,” he said. “It’s frustrating to see someone at this high a level essentially getting off light when the little people seem to have their lives completely ruined.”
This will definitely leave a mark on Petraeus’ record. The retired general was considered as one of the most revered and highly decorated military leaders in modern times. He famously served as a military commander in Afghanistan.
Petraeus and Broadwell’s affair became public in 2012. When the scandal broke out, Petraeus was forced to retire from his job as CIA director.
It was reported that during his time in Afghanistan, he compiled eight black books containing his schedule as well as top secret military information ranging from code words and identities of cover officers to war strategy and intelligence capabilities. Petraeus left these books to Broadwell while she was working on his biography. However, it was proven that none of the classified information ever made it into Broadwell’s book.
When news of his affair with Broadwell broke out, Petraeus allegedly lied to investigators about whether he still possessed classified information by not revealing the existence of the black books.
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