David Petraeus Gets Hand-Slap for Leaking, Two Point Enhancement for Obstruction of Justice

David Petraeus

Cross posted from ExposeFacts.

As a supine Congress sitting inside a scaffolded dome applauded Benjamin Netanyahu calling to reject a peace deal with Iran, DOJ quietly announced it had reached a plea deal with former CIA Director David Petraeus for leaking Top Secret/Secure Compartmented Information materials to his mistress, Paula Broadwell.

Among the materials in the eight “Black Books” Petraeus shared with Broadwell were:

…classified information regarding the identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions, quotes and deliberative discussions from high-level National Security Council meetings, and defendant DAVID HOWELL PETRAEUS’s discussions with the President of the United States of America.

The Black Books contained national defense information, including Top Secret/SCI and code word information.

Petraeus kept those Black Books full of code word information including covert identities and conversations with the President “in a rucksack up there somewhere.”

Petreaus retained those Black Books after he signed his debriefing agreement upon leaving DOD, in which he attested “I give my assurance that there is no classified material in my possession, custody, or control at this time.” He kept those Black Books in an unlocked desk drawer.

For mishandling some of the most important secrets the nation has, Petraeus will plead guilty to a misdemeanor. Petraeus, now an employee of a top private equity firm, will be fined $40,000 and serve two years of probation.

He will not, however, be asked to plead guilty at all for lying to FBI investigators. In an interview on October 26, 2012, he told the FBI,

(a) he had never provided any classified information to his biographer, and (b) he had never facilitated the provision of classified information to his biographer.

For lying to the FBI — a crime that others go to prison for for months and years — Petraeus will just get a two point enhancement on his sentencing guidelines. The Department of Justice basically completely wiped away the crime of covering up his crime of leaking some of the country’s most sensitive secrets to his mistress.

When John Kiriakou pled guilty on October 23, 2012 to crimes having to do with sharing a single covert officer’s identity just days before Petraeus would lie to the FBI about sharing, among other things, numerous covert officers’ identities with his mistress, Petraeus sent out a memo to the CIA stating,

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.

David Petraeus is now proof of what a lie that statement was.

26 replies
  1. phred says:

    One would like to think that someone somewhere in DOJ is ashamed, but that would be asking a lot these days.
    On the bright side, maybe this should give journalists and their whistling blowing sources hope… All they need to do is have sex with each other and then poof! No harm, no foul.

  2. reliably says:

    But what about Paula Broadwell? Shouldn’t she be facing some kind of charges?

    During the time of the Petraeus affair, she was a military intelligence reservist. IIRC, the DOJ said there wasn’t sufficient evidence to charge her with cyberstalking or harassment (for the Jill Kelley emails) but during the Petraeus investigation, the shared classified documents were found on her computer, which would be definitely evidence of possessing and mishandling classified documents, and possibly evidence of publishing the information, if it was in her book.

    Seems strange that the Obama DOJ would let her off the hook for this.

    • emptywheel says:

      I’m still trying to figure out whether this DQs him for a last minute stand-in for POTUS nomination.

      • bloopie2 says:

        Maybe he can do the POTUS gig in 2020, if he can get that misdemeanor expunged by then. But he’ll never wipe away the yellow stain.

        • bmaz says:

          There really is no such thing as an expungement on a federal conviction, even a misdemeanor. The only meaningful option is a presidential pardon. And that won’t be happening under Obama.

  3. GKJames says:

    Reminds me of the old foreign policy saw about the sons-of-bitches we nurture around the world: For the security apparatus, Petraeus may be a criminal, but he’s THEIR criminal. (Is it safe to assume, by the way, that with a misdemeanor he retains his security clearance?)

    • bloopie2 says:

      Christ, even if with a misdemeanor he can retain his security clearance, SHOULD he retain it? After all, how more egregious a security violation can there be? It’s not like he was convicted of DUI; he gave away our codes and lied about it!

  4. milkshaken says:

    He did not embarrass anyone except himself. And he did it just for his vanity, and money, fame and sex. (Embarrassing the administration and the military-security establishment as Manning did is far greater crime than just passing top secret stuff, or lying to the feds.)

  5. wallace says:

    What does one say when confronted with the living proof the DOJ’s TwoTiered Justice system is not only real, but advancing it’s hubris to the point they are laughing in your face? What does one say when confronted with unimpeachable evidence your government is covering up hideous, sadistic war crimes of such magnitude it is impossible to imagine. What does one say, when confronted with the fact that you woke up this morning into a surveillance world even Orwell cannot fathom? What do you do when confronted with the reality of your own relevance to change anything?

    bartender.. give me whatever craft beer emptywheel is drinking with a chaser of BloodyfuckingPitchforks.

    • What Constitution? says:

      Scooter Libby? Why? Has somebody leaked that Obama is going to commute Petraeus’ “sentence” for his misdemeanor plea? Scooter Libby didn’t even get laid… so far as we know, anyway.

  6. Don Bacon says:

    Petraeus is embarrassed? I don’t think so. he knew when he did this that he could get away with it, and he did. He’s no more embarrassed than Bill Clinton was over Monica. These people are above the law.

  7. Gordon says:

    But he is going to lose his pension and rank, right?

    Years ago, a submarine hit an uncharted undersea mountain while running blind. He lost his commission. I thought that was a bit rough – shouldn’t the head of Navy oceanography be the one to lose his job? But ok – rules are rules and if you hit a mountain that anyone else would have hit under the same conditions, you lose your job. Them’s the rules.

    So how does Petraeus’ case fit? How bitter must the rank and file feel? How deep does this rot run?

    • RUKidding says:

      BetrayUs lose his pension & rank? Surely you jest. I’m sure this lying sleazy scum bag will be collecting from you & me, the US taxpayer, until his last dying breath… all whilst making a gargantuan “salary” from whatever Private Equity company he’s headed through the revolving door to… to his “just rewards” as I’m sure that BetrayUs sees it… after the incredibly “harsh spanking” he’s had to endure for his treasonous behavior.

  8. der says:

    * As The New York Times noted today, the deal “allows Mr. Petraeus to focus on his lucrative post-government career as a partner in a private equity firm and a worldwide speaker on national security issues.”
    * A – “speaker on national security issues”, the NYT editors actually wrote & printed that. Shit is fucked up and bullshit.

  9. TBob says:

    I kind of recall an ancient bit of scribbling from group of guys with buckles on their shoes. Went something like: “… Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…”

    Oh, fuck that…BENGHAZZZZEEEEE!!!

  10. Don Bacon says:

    from King’s College– “Generation P.” — gotta love that
    Paula D. Broadwell
    King’s College, London
    PhD Student
    # U.S. Army Major with 13 years of interagency and international counter-terrorism experience
    # Extensive work, research, and travel in nearly 70 countries

    Paula is conducting a study that explores the path of effect from leader character through leadership behavior to organizational performance outcomes. She specifically examines the successful professional trajectory of U.S. Army General David H. Petraeus, who is widely credited with designing the “surge” operation to stabilize Iraq. U.S. and international leaders have heralded him as the “preeminent soldier, scholar, statesman of his generation.”
    To examine this leader’s pathway to success, Paula’s research draws up on transformational vs. transactional leadership and social network theories, and examines case studies of leadership in extremis. She explores how General Petraeus’s atypical education, professional military experience, and network have shaped his leader’s vision and command philosophy, as well impacting the next generation of junior officers, often referred to as “Generation P.” She explores whether a military leader’s departure from normative expectations of development into activities that promise a longer trajectory can benefit both the individual and the organization. She also seeks to illustrate whether leaders who perform beyond expectations have greater impact on followers.

    –I guess “the P.” performed beyond expectations and had a great impact on at least one follower.

  11. wallace says:

    notwithstanding emptywheel’s takedown of this scumbag war criminal, Ray McGovern burns him at the stake…for the worst crime of all…


    In a parallel universe where rule of law still has power over rule of men, Patreaus would be facing a firing squad, vs this universe where rule of law is a myth and a lie. Meanwhile, Hillary raises her middle finger to those mythical rules by using her own personal email provider for State Department communications. Of course, what difference does it make. Rules and laws are for morons.

  12. RUKidding says:

    I do wonder what DOES happen to Paula Broadwell? Does she just get off Scott free because she gives good blow jobs? Or what? Poor (and I mean this) Monica Lewinsky has paid a big huge price for her affair with Clinton… mostly unfairly I feel. Lewinsky, who yes consorted with a married man, has had an awful time of it and has difficulties getting jobs for which she is qualified… all based on something she did years ago. But Lewinsky is the USA’s Hester Pryne forevermore forced to wear a Neon Letter A emblazoned on her forehead.
    What Broadwell engaged in, imo, is miles worse than any shenanigan Lewinsky got up to. Where’s the accountability for Broadwell? Or is it all good to give good blow jobs to the head of the CIA whilst downloading allegedly Top Secret docs onto her laptop to read and write about?
    We are so far down the rabbit hole that I really don’t see how we get out of here alive. Serious.

  13. Don Bacon says:

    Petraeus Mistress Got Black Books Full of Code Words, Spy Names, and Obama Briefings

    The notebooks had black covers with Petraeus’s business card taped on the front of each of them.
    All eight books “collectively contained classified information regarding the identifies of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions, quotes and deliberative discussions from high-level National Security Council meetings… and discussions with the president of the United States.”
    The books also contained “national defense information, including top secret/SCI and code word information,” according to the court papers. In other words: These weren’t just ordinary secrets. This was highly, highly classified material.

    Here’s an interesting comment by Tom Ricks, on Broadwell’s biography.
    “There have been several books written about parts of the career of David Petraeus, but this is the first one that could be called a biography of the most prominent American general since World War II. It is written with an insider’s lively understanding of the workings of today’s Army. I’ve known David Petraeus since he was a colonel and written two books in which he appeared, but I still learned a lot about him from this book. All In feels at times like we are sitting at his side in Afghanistan, reading his e-mails over his shoulder.”
    —Thomas E. Ricks, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Generals, Fiasco, and The Gamble

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