If he manages to avoid prison, former CIA director David Petraeus’ guilty plea for providing reams of classified material to his mistress will result in far more lenient punishment than that often meted for leaking the nation’s secrets.
Petraeus, 62, has agreed to admit guilt on a single misdemeanor count of the unauthorized removal and retention of classified material. The agreement was filed Tuesday in federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Paula Broadwell, the general’s biographer and former mistress, lives with her husband and children.
Prosecutors recommended two years of probation and a $40,000 fine. However, the judge who hears the plea is not bound by that and could still impose a sentence of up to one year in prison. No immediate date was set for a court hearing for Petraeus to enter the plea.
By comparison, former CIA officer John Kiriakou pleaded guilty in 2012 to one count of intentionally disclosing the identity of a covert agent to a reporter and was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Then the CIA director, Petraeus hailed the conviction as a victory for the agency.
“Oaths do matter, and there are indeed consequences for those who believe they are above the laws that protect our fellow officers and enable American intelligence agencies to operate with the requisite degree of secrecy,”Petraeus said at the time.
Prosecutors said that while Broadwell was writing her book in Washington in 2011, Petraeus gave her eight binders of classified material he had improperly kept from his time as the top military commander in Afghanistan. Days later, he took the binders back to his house.