General David Petraeus on Tuesday reached a plea deal to a misdemeanor charge connected to his mishandling of classified material. He now avoids a trial as well as time in prison. Federal prosecutors are asking for two years of probation for the former General and CIA Director. The complaint charges Petraeus with one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material. The agreement reveals that Petraeus lied to investigators and divulged a large amount of sensitive data to his mistress Paula Broadwell.
The plea deal includes a recommendation of two years probation and a $40,000 dollar fine. Both Petraeus and his attorney Robert Barnett declined to comment on the deal. The deal tarnishes the retired four-star general who was once considered a possible presidential or vice presidential candidate for the United States. Petraeus’ mistress, Paula Broadwell was a former Army Reserve officer who had an affair in 2011 with the General. She was interviewing him for a book she was writing on him called, “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.”
Petraeus resigned as head of the CIA in 2012. In the criminal complaint, prosecutors claim Petraeus gave Broadwell binders of classified information detailing his daily schedule and notes about his meetings with President Obama. He delivered the binders to Broadwell’s residence in August 2011. The complaint reports that Broadwell’s residence was not approved for the storage of classified information. The information in the books also included “identities of cover officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions along with secret code word information.
Prosecutors claim in the court document that Petraeus lied to FBI agents in 2012, when he was questioned at CIA headquarters about his handling of classified information. He answered them saying he never provided any classified information to his biographer and never facilitated the provision of classified information to his biographer. The Department of Justice released a statement saying, “The criminal Information charges the defendant with one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1924. 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.”
Armed Services Committee chairman Senator John McCain issued a statement responding to the announcement of the plea deal. “With the Department of Justice investigation now complete, Gen. Petraeus has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor,” McCain said in a statement. “He has apologized and expressed deep regret for this situation, and I believe it is time to consider this matter closed. At a time of grave security challenges around the world, I hope that Gen. Petraeus will continue to provide his outstanding service and leadership to our nation, as he has throughout his distinguished career.”
F.B.I. agents discovered the affair as they investigated cyberstalking allegations that had been made by Jill Kelley, one of Mr. Petraeus’s friends. Ms. Kelley, of Tampa, Fla., told the F.B.I. that an anonymous person had been sending her threatening emails that told her to stay away from Mr. Petraeus. But while the disclosures may not have directly affected national security, the F.B.I. found that they amounted to a significant security breach — especially because they had been committed by the C.I.A. director.