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Former CIA Director Petraeus Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges

Sputnik News

19:27 03.03.2015(updated 21:43 03.03.2015)

David Petraeus faces prison after reaching a plea agreement with federal prosecutors to avoid a trial over mishandling of classified information.

Former CIA director and renowned four-star general David Petraeus might spend up to a year behind bars, following a plea agreement with federal prosecutors who accused him of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material.

He admitted to passing classified information to his mistress, Paula Broadwell, a former Army Reserve officer who had an affair with Petraeus in 2011 while writing a book about him. While a judge could sentence him to jail time, prosecutors are recommending two years probation, with no jail time and a $40,000 fine.

Petraeus resigned as CIA director in 2012, three days after President Obama was reelected. The four-star general at the time acknowledged the affair but denied any wrongdoing.

The plea agreement means he avoids what would probably be a high-profile trial where embarrassing details about the affair would have been made public. The former CIA director is still married to Holly Petraeus.

General Petraeus is widely regarded as one of the best US military strategists. He was an architect of the 2006 'surge' in Iraq that allowed American military forces to regain control over most of Iraqi territory, together with local tribes and militias. Petraeus insisted on building strong ties with Iraqi tribal and religious leaders, claiming that 'winning the hearts and minds' of the local population is the only way to stabilize the country.

President Obama turned to Petraeus again in 2010, hoping he could implement his counterinsurgency tactics in Afghanistan. However, after CIA director Leon Panetta's resignation in 2011, the general was offered to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

It was in Afghanistan that Broadwell met and traveled with Petraeus as part of research for the book, 'All In, The Education of David Petraeus.'

According to court documents, the information he gave her was contained in eight black notebooks that had everything from unclassified information like his daily schedule, to classified and highly sensitive information such as war strategy information, names of covert officers, codes, and notes on conversations he had with President Obama.

Prosecutors also charge that Petraeus lied to federal investigators when he was interviewed by them while still CIA director in 2012 when he told them he never provided any classified information to Broadwell nor helped her get it elsewhere.

'These statements were false. Defendant David Howell Petraeus then and there knew that he previously shared the Black Books with his biographer,' said the court documents filed in federal court in North Carolina on Tuesday. 'Petraeus did 'unlawfully and knowingly' remove classified materials and kept them at 'unauthorized locations,' including Broadwell's home. 'The D.C. private residence was not approved for the storage of classified information,' say the documents.

The US Justice Department issued a statement, saying, 'Three documents – a criminal information, a plea agreement and a statement of facts – were filed today in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina's Charlotte Division in the case of United States v. David Howell Petraeus. The criminal information charges the defendant with one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material…. The plea agreement and corresponding statement of facts, both signed by the defendant, indicate that he will plead guilty to the one-count criminal Information.'

Since resigning from the CIA and retiring from the Army, Petraeus, who has a Ph.D. from Princeton, has been teaching and working as a consultant for a venture capital firm in New York City.

His lawyer, Robert Barnett, declined comment.


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