Rules on Leaking for Generals and CIA Directors

1) If you leak who-knows-what to your mistress, you might actually get prosecuted (or at the very least, prosecutors and/or FBI Agents will leak to the press that they recommended you be prosecuted but the Attorney General has been stalling on that decision).

The F.B.I. and Justice Department prosecutors have recommended bringing felony charges against retired Gen. David H. Petraeus for providing classified information to his former mistress while he was director of theC.I.A., officials said, leaving Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to decide whether to seek an indictment that could send the pre-eminent military officer of his generation to prison.


Mr. Holder was expected to decide by the end of last year whether to bring charges against Mr. Petraeus, but he has not indicated how he plans to proceed. The delay has frustrated some Justice Department and F.B.I officials and investigators who have questioned whether Mr. Petraeus has received special treatment at a time Mr. Holder has led an unprecedented crackdown on government officials who reveal secrets to journalists.

The protracted process has also frustrated Mr. Petraeus’s friends and political allies, who say it is unfair to keep the matter hanging over his head. Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, wrote to Mr. Holder last month that the investigation had deprived the nation of wisdom from one of its most experienced experts.

2) If you leak highly classified information that makes the Administration look good to friendly Hollywood producers, not only won’t you be prosecuted, but if an Inspector General employee in turn leaks that you leaked that information they’ll get investigated.

More than two years after sensitive information about the Osama bin Laden raid was disclosed to Hollywood filmmakers, Pentagon and CIA investigations haven’t publicly held anyone accountable despite internal findings that the leakers were former CIA Director Leon Panetta and the Defense Department’s top intelligence official.

Instead, the Pentagon Inspector General’s Office is working to root out who might have disclosed the findings on Panetta and Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers to a nonprofit watchdog group and to McClatchy.

3) If you’re Obama’s favorite General and you leak unbelievably sensitive information about America and Israel ushering a new world of cyberwarfare, you’ll lose your security clearance but then everyone will forget about it.

Legal sources tell NBC News that the former second ranking officer in the U.S. military is now the target of a Justice Department investigation into a politically sensitive leak of classified information about a covert U.S. cyber attack on Iran’s nuclear program.

According to legal sources, Retired Marine Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has received a target letter informing him that he’s under investigation for allegedly leaking information about a massive attack using a computer virus named Stuxnet on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Gen. Cartwright, 63, becomes the latest individual targeted over alleged leaks by the Obama administration, which has already prosecuted or charged eight individuals under the Espionage Act.

This is all very confusing.

Apparently there are rules about leaking classified information and President Obama’s Administration is more aggressive about enforcing those rules than any administration ever.

Except if you’re a top National Security official.

11 replies
  1. Peterr says:

    This is the Fernando Rule in action.

    “It is better to look good than to feel good, and dahling, you look mahvelous.

    Applied to Marcy’s three scenarios, the application of the Fernando Rule looks like this:

    Make the administration look evil or stupid, and we will come after you. (#1)
    Make the administration look mahvelous, and it’s all fine and dandy. (#2)
    Make a goof, but your a kinda nice guy and didn’t really mean to make us look bad, and we’ll slap your wrist but you’ll get over it and so will we. (#3)

    Shorter Obama Administration: It’s not what you leak, but how it makes us look that matters.

    • Don Bacon says:

      ….brings back memories.
      How about a blast from the past?
      OBAMA ’08


      * Protect the Openness of the Internet…
      * Encourage Diversity in Media Ownership:…
      * Protect Our Children While Preserving the First Amendment…
      * Safeguard our Right to Privacy…
      * Open Up Government to its Citizens: The Bush Administration has been one of the most secretive, closed administrations in American history. Our nation’s progress has been stifled by a system corrupted by millions of lobbying dollars contributed to political campaigns, the revolving door between government and industry, and privileged access to inside information—all of which have led to policies that favor the few against the public interest. An Obama presidency will use cutting-edge technologies to reverse this dynamic, creating a new level of transparency, accountability and participation for America’s citizens. . . .

  2. ArizonaBumblebee says:

    I will apply the same standard to General Petraeus that he applied to John Kiriakou. When asked on the Bill Moyers program about the justification for prosecuting Mr. Kiriakou, he said that Kiriakou’s violation of his oath was a serious matter and justified his prosecution. By that standard General Petraeus should be prosecuted. At least in the case of John Kiriakou he thought he was exposing serious misconduct; whereas in the case of Petraeus he was only leaking information to a favored journalist with whom he was engaged in an illicit relationship. President Obama and Attorney General Holder are making a mockery of justice and undermining a basic tenet of our governance: equality before the law.

    • Bill Michtom says:

      “President Obama and Attorney General Holder are making a mockery of justice”


      Please, AB, “have made”! … for years! ;-)

  3. Don Bacon says:

    If you are Obama’s second favorite general and, similar to Petraeus, have an interest in another woman, in this case Tampa Socialite Jill Kelley, and send her hundreds of emails leading to an inspector general’s investigation, it will lead to a better job, or actually two.
    That would be John Allen, who resigned from the Marine Corps in February 2013 “so that he can address health issues within his family” Obama said. And then three months later John Allen was appointed special U.S. envoy on security issues in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and sixteen months after that in September 2014, Allen was appointed Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a position he still holds.
    Two ladies were unhappy. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., was briefed by the inspector general’s office on the investigation and called it little more than a whitewash. The real story of what happened between Allen and Jill Kelley is unknown, she said, because Allen refused to turn over personal e-mails. Petraeus’ extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, was exposed after Kelley complained to the FBI about harassing e-mails she had received. Broadwell was behind them.
    At the same time that Kelley’s friend Allen was made a special Obama envoy, a federal judge ruled that she could pursue her lawsuit alleging the government invaded her privacy in the scandal over former CIA director David Petraeus. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Jill Kelley of Tampa can move ahead with claims that the FBI and Defense Department violated her privacy when officials leaked information about her to the news media. According to court filings by Kelley’s lawyers, the government falsely told one news outlet the emails between Allen and Kelley were the equivalent of phone sex.

  4. Don Bacon says:

    Another blast from the past, Sep 11, 2007, by a now-retiring senator–
    Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) just hammered Petraeus, both on the topic of whether the United States is now an “occupying force” in Iraq, as well as whether Petraeus had misled both lawmakers and the American people as to the state of progress in Iraq, both now and in the past.
    Boxer also pulled off some nice political theater, pulling out her own chart with a blown-up photo of her and now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) meeting with Petraeus when the general took over responsibility for training Iraqi security forces back in 2005.
    On the surge, Boxer said, “I don’t consider this a nuanced policy. It is killing our soldiers at a great rate.”
    Boxer also implored Petraeus “to take off your rosy glasses” regarding his assessment on the security and political environment within Iraq.

  5. chronicle says:

    quote”This is all very confusing.
    Apparently there are rules about leaking classified information and President Obama’s Administration is more aggressive about enforcing those rules than any administration ever.

    Except if you’re a top National Security official.”unquote

    Yes it is very confusing. Apparently there are rules about lying through your teeth to Congress or the FB, too.

    Except if you’re a top National Security official.

    Do I detect a pattern here?

  6. lefty665 says:

    “Apparently there are rules about leaking classified information…” I’m sorry, those rules are classified, you do not have clearance to see them,

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