Justice Dept. Calls for Felony Charges against Gen. Petraeus

Monday, January 12, 2015
David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell

Federal prosecutors have recommended that Gen. David Petraeus, who was commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and went on to become Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director, be charged with providing classified information to his mistress.


The Federal Bureau of Investigation found classified documents on the computer of Paula Broadwell, an Army Reserve officer who was writing Petraeus’ biography, in 2012 after it was revealed that the two were having an affair and Petraeus resigned as CIA director.


Now it’s up to Attorney General Eric Holder to decide whether to prosecute Petraeus. It was expected that Holder would have made the decision by the end of 2014, which is causing some to say that the former four-star general is getting special treatment. When asked in December why charges had not been brought, FBI Director James Comey said, according to The New York Times: “I can’t say. I mean, I guess I could say, but I won’t say.”


Some members of Congress have urged Holder to resist prosecution, claiming, in effect, that Petraeus should not be held to the same laws as other Americans. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-California) told CNN that Petraeus was “a brilliant man” who has suffered enough.


Investigators have pushed for charges to be filed, pointing out that lower-ranking officials had been prosecuted for far more minor offenses, according to the Times.


Before news of the affair came out, Petraeus was highly respected throughout the country and there had even been talk of him running for president. The relationship was revealed when Jill Kelley, a friend of Petraeus, told the FBI that she had been getting threatening e-mails. Those e-mails were eventually traced to Broadwell. Her computer was searched and evidence of the affair was found. Petraeus resigned in November 2012.


Since leaving government service, Petraeus has been chairman of the KKR Global Institute, a part of the private-equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, gives speeches and teaches.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

FBI and Justice Dept. Said to Seek Charges for Petraeus (by Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo, New York Times)

Prosecutors Weigh Charges Against David Petraeus Involving Classified Information (by Sari Horwitz and Adam Goldman, Washington Post)

The Real Petraeus Moral Failure…Lying to the American People about Afghanistan (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Petraeus and Obama Accused of Lying to Public about Afghanistan War Situation (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Erik S 9 years ago
It's interesting that the government officials quoted earlier that Petraeus was likely to be indicted could not be named because they were not authorized to speak to the press. In effect, they are leaking classified information about an official they are prosecuting for leaking classified information. Bizarre doublethink.

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