Charlotte, North Carolina (TFC) – General David Petraeus was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine after pleading guilty to unlawfully removing classified documents from the Department of Defense, pursuant to Title 18 U.S.C 1924.
U.S. Magistrate Judge David Keesler in Charlotte, N.C., sentenced General Petraeus to two years probation, and a $100,000 fine, disregarding a suggestion from the Deputy U.S. Attorney for a fine of only $40,000. Judge Keesler reasoned that the ex-CIA head deserved a punitive fine that was more in line with his income.
As reported here in early March, after months of denials from Petraeus, he entered a plea of guilty to an amended one count indictment. In return, the U.S. Attorney would not seek prosecution of other charges and would recommend no jail time as part of his sentence.
Petraeus would break his oath of office and remove extensive classified documents from the DOD as part of an affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell. His relationship with Broadwell would include marital infidelity, cyber-stalking, threats and the release of classified material by Petraeus.
What is even more disconcerting is the cavalier approach to Petraeus’ crimes by the Obama Administration, as well as members of Congress, in light of the aggressive prosecutions of whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou and several others. The Department of Justice recommended that Petraeus face felony charges. He was never even indicted. Petraeus did not release information about illegal and secretive mass surveillance by the government. Petraeus did not release documents that showed a number of government officials committing crimes. Petraeus did not look to let the public know that people in the government were violating the Constitution. No, what Petraeus did was remove highly classified material from the Department of Defense and give that material to his lover. Share his CIA email account. Release the names of covert operations and operatives. He even released information from classified White House meetings. Then he spent months lying about it. What were the consequences?
What were the consequences? Well, Jesselyn Radack, the lawyer for Edward Snowden, Thomas Drake, and John Kiriakou, penned an article in Foreign Policy Magazine when Petraeus’ plea agreement became public. She observed the plight of the good General:
“Throughout his ordeal, Petraeus retained his security clearance. Even after accusations that he shared highly classified information on the war in Afghanistan with his mistress, he has spent his time teaching at Harvard, making lucrative speeches across the globe, pulling in a massive salary as a partner in one of the world’s biggest private-equity firms, KKR, and reportedly even advising the White House.”
Petraeus held a press conference after today’s court appearance. Apologizing for his behavior.
I cannot find another instance in history that a person who literally gives away classified material and information, fully admitted his actions at his plea hearing, yet is allowed to maintain his security clearance, is not sent to prison, and is privy to ongoing classified military operations and strategy. It appears that it is a good thing to have friends in the Military Industrial Complex.