Felony Charges Recommended Against Petraeus

The F.B.I. and Justice Department prosecutors have recommended bringing felony charges against retired Gen. David Petraeus for providing classified information to his former mistress while he was director of the C.I.A., the New York Times reports.

“The Justice Department investigation stems from an affair Mr. Petraeus had with Paula Broadwell, an Army Reserve officer who was writing his biography, and focuses on whether he gave her access to his C.I.A. email account and other highly classified information. F.B.I. agents discovered classified documents on her computer after Mr. Petraeus resigned from the C.I.A. in 2012 when the affair became public.”

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  • CraigRandall1

    The Obama administration is on a roll.

    • I don’t know, this is a hot potato, and a huge political headache. Petraeus was head of CENTCOM… As much as giving classified material to snuggle bunnies is not cool, it depends on the material, and what kind of damage…

      I don’t see this as a good case for the prosecution. If it was material that could or caused millions or billions of dollars of damage, prosecute Petraeus. If it is one or two briefs that she didn’t have security clearance for, just dropped the matter..

      • wolfman

        She apparently had full clearance for what was in his “briefs”.

        • LarryMcD

          I see what you did there. Snort.

        • vtbikerider

          He’s a paratrooper- so I’m sure there was some PLF’s involved…

    • vtbikerider

      So was he in the hay.

  • vidarien

    To be fair, Paula Broadwell looked a lot like an old girlfriend I had, and that girl was a complete monster in the sack.

  • oldhandatthis

    This is very sad, Petraeus is intelligent and talented with the potential to do great things for our nation but he fell into the trap where he saw himself above the law.

    • fgtayl01

      Totally agree. Very capable man but this was a very dumb (and unnecessary) thing to do if true.

    • Bonky

      I served under him in Afghanistan and when he visited Kabul, money that was supposed to be for hospitals and health care for the local nationals was instead used pay people to fan Petraeus with palm fronds. My impression was that he believed he was better than normal people and normal rules didn’t apply to him.

      • fgtayl01

        I’ve only met him socially but he came across as normal people to me. I never worked for him.

        His peers had high regard for him though and I do know they don’t have people fanning them with palm fronds.

    • Silent_Partner

      Nah, simpler than that….he fell in the trap of an attractive woman. Makes men do dumb shit sometimes.

      • oldhandatthis

        That was part of it.

  • We continue to be struck by how many laws it is possible to break. The headlines are filled with politicians accused of fundraising irregularities. McDonnell (VA) may be headed to the slammer. Some DA is being charged with something. Christie questioned by the Feds. Everywhere you look. Now Petraeus. Could there just be too many laws, or could they be so complicated nobody can understand them (i.e., Dodd Frank). Now, selling individual cigarettes in New York: THERE’S a crime everybody can understand and deplore.

    • David Bluefeather

      Giving your girlfriend national secrets to help her write a book, … THAT’S very easy to understand.

      • DKDC

        Especially if you job is the head of the CIA.

      • Ah yes, national secrets. Known only to Mossad

    • LarryMcD

      Unless I’m mistaken, my friend Ned Pepper, your sense of humor has gotten drier with the drought in your adopted state. Maybe you need to come home.

      • We are a shadow of our former modest self

    • embo66

      The pattern I see isn’t that we have too many complex laws, but that too many politicians seem to feel they are above them. For instance, McDonnell is still insisting on his “innocence,” even though it was revealed during his long trial that many, many of the professionals around him warned him of the ethical problems he was courting.

    • taikan

      The laws regarding disclosure of classified information to someone not authorized to receive it are clear enough for anyone who is given access to classified information to understand those laws.

  • How many Wall Street bankers got felony charges for bringing down the economy? And what was the consequences of her knowing that information? Make sure you get all the little fish, so we can pretend that we respect justice.

    • Jonas Grumby

      BINGO. Quite frankly, I just don’t care that he did this.

      • JohnJStanton

        I don’t care about the crimes that 95% of all people commit. I do care that whether you go to jail or not is dependent on who you are and not on the crime.

        Obama should pardon Petraeus. Then pardon Cheney and Bush. Then pardon Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. Sign all of the pardons on the same day to make a point.

        I wonder how you start a petition at whitehouse.gov…

    • taikan

      There are many ways to describe Gen. Petraeus, but “little fish” is not one of them.

      • Consider his crime of telling secrets to someone who did nothing with them. Compare it to a collapsed economy that brought real suffering to much of the entire world. I’m not condoning sharing classified information. But his crime doesn’t mean shit compared to some other stuff that we’d be lucky if they got a slap on the wrist. He’s a significant, important person in our political environment. The consequences of his actions are negligible. Little fish.

        • taikan

          You equate the nature of the crime with the status of the defendant. That’s the equivalent of saying that Spiro Agnew was a “little fish” because he only accepted relatively small bribes. However, he was the Vice President, and his prosecution resulted in a change that later resulted in Gerald Ford, not Agnew, becoming President when Richard Nixon resigned.

          To put it simply, the nature of the crime does not always dictate whether the criminal is a “small fish.”

          • Fine. Petty crime -> felony charges. Destroying world economy = way to go, rich white folk? Patraeus is a big fish, if you must. But what did she do as a result of knowing this classified info? Did she Snowden us? Did anything come of it? This just seems like a side show while other crimes go unpunished/rewarded.

  • taikan

    If it were just a matter of allowing his girl friend to see some classified information there probably wouldn’t be a recommendation for prosecution. Therefore, my guess is that something made the investigators conclude that he allowed her to see classified information for the purpose of benefiting either or both of them in a manner unrelated to their having a sexual relationship.

    • LarryMcD


    • fgtayl01

      I think the level of the access she was given and exposure risk it created is why they’d prosecute.

      The defn. of Top Secret is material that could cause exceptionally grave damage to national security if leaked. Lives are usually at stake.

      If TS was found on her unclass home computer, which could easily be hacked, it’s hard to ignore. They don’t really care what the motivation was.

      • taikan

        When there has been no actual damage (i.e., no disclosure to a foreign entity) as a result of a government employee’s mishandling of classified information, the decision regarding whether to prosecute rather than just fire the employee is likely to be based on a prosecutor’s assessment of the odds of getting a conviction.

        In a situation such as this, where the defendant is someone who is widely admired and viewed as a “hero” by many potential jurors, simply arguing to the jury that the information could have been highly damaging if disclosed, even though it wasn’t disclosed and there was no damage, isn’t likely to be very persuasive. However, arguing that he provided her with the material so that she could benefit monetarily from the success of her book is likely to help persuade a jury to convict.

  • Silent_Partner

    The power of the poo nanny….and this chick seems quite unstable to be kind about it.

  • Adam_T

    How many military regulars are charged with releasing classified information?

    I think that is far more important here than the fact that the bankers got off.

    I don’t know the answer to that but I know they are threatened with jail time for doing it when they join the military.