Washington, D.C. (TFC) – Placing an exclamation point to one of the greatest downfalls of a respected former Military Leader and CIA Director General David H. Petraeus has agreed to plead guilty to one count of Unauthorized Removal and Retention of Classified Material. Papers filed by the Department of Justice which included the Criminal Information, a Plea Agreement and the Statement of Facts Underlying the charges indicate that the former CIA Director faces a maximum of one year in prison and/or a $100,000.00 fine as well as a possible maximum of five years of Probation that is mandated for Federal convictions of this type.
The ex-CIA Director had publicly denied, many times, that there had been any wrongdoing on his part. The FBI followed a trail that started with allegations that Petraeus’ Biographer Paula Broadwell had sent threatening and harassing emails to Tampa Socialite Jill Kelley. Leading investigators to email accounts they discovered belonged to Petraeus and Broadwell, but were created using an alias. Investigators also discovered that in order to hide the email traffic the ex-CIA director and Broadwell would leave messages in “draft” form. A well known terrorist trick to the intelligence community. This discovery would prove to be Petraeus’ undoing, first forcing his resignation as CIA Director, then ultimately leading to this plea of guilty.
The plea and sentencing to be heard in front of Judge Robert Conrad includes an agreement between the United States’ Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, Anne M. Tompkins, and Petraeus of a joint recommendation of no jail time, a maximum of two years probation and a fine of not more than $40,000.00.
The Department of Justice received extensive pressure to drop the investigation while it was putting together its case against the General. Including a letter from Senator John McCain which stated in part; “At this critical moment in our nation’s security, Congress and the American people cannot afford to have this voice silenced or curtailed by the shadow of a long-running, unresolved investigation marked by leaks from anonymous sources.”
It should not be lost on the American people in this writer’s opinion that the evidence did in fact exist that the former Director of the CIA removed, retained and revealed classified information to his lover, also his biographer Paula Broadwell. As its Director, Petraeus violated the most basic rules of secrecy from a leadership position and his crime should not be taken lightly by anyone. As stated in part in the Statement of Facts;
“On or about August 4, 2011, after defendant DAVID HOWELL PETRAEUS returned permanently to the United States from Afghanistan, during a conversation, recorded by his biographer, defendant DAVID HOWELL PETRAEUS stated that the Black Books were “highly classified” and contained “code word” information:
Biographer: By the way, where are your black books? We never went through . . .
PETRAEUS: They’re in a rucksack up there somewhere.
Biographer: Okay . . . You avoiding that? You gonna look through ’em first?
PETRAEUS: Umm, well, they’re really – I mean they are highly classified, some of them. They don’t have it on it, but I mean there’s code word stuff in there
On or about August 27, 2011, defendant DAVID HOWELL PETRAEUS sent an e-mail to his biographer in which he agreed to provide the Black Books to his biographer.
On or about August 28, 2011, defendant DAVID HOWELL PETRAEUS delivered the Black Books to a private residence in Washington, C. (the “DC Private Residence”), where his biographer was staying during a week-long trip to Washington, D.C. The DC Private Residence was not approved for the storage of classified information.”
These “black books” contained highly classified information including “military codes”. Something Petraeus obviously knew before, during and after his criminal act.
[Editor’s note: “Code Word Stuff” is possibly a reference to a category of classified information known as “Sensitive Compartmentalized Information.” In this category a person has to be specifically cleared to know each detail. Each project is assigned a specific codeword and the classification is often referred to as “Code Word Secret.” It is highest security classification there is.]