On Friday, January 9, 2015, a news story broke saying that federal prosecutors would be recommending criminal charges be brought up against retired Army General David Petraeus for allegedly passing classified information to his former mistress, Paula Broadwell.
At the time of the four-star general’s retirement in August 2011, Gen. Petraeus was arguably the most recognizable individual in the U.S. military. In 2003, as a major general, Petraeus commanded the 101st Airborne in Iraq. In 2004, Petraeus was promoted to lieutenant general, and named the first commander of the Multinational Security Transition Command in Iraq. In 2007, he was promoted to general, and became the head of all coalition forces in Iraq when he was made commander of the Multi-National Force Iraq (MNI). As he was in the process of retiring from the Army, Petraeus was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate for the position of Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 2011. In November 2012, Petraeus resigned as head of the CIA when his affair with Broadwell became known.
Broadwell was the principle biographer for Petraeus’ autobiography, titled All In. The two engaged in an affair for several months, which reportedly ended in the summer of 2012. Shortly thereafter, Broadwell allegedly began sending anonymous threatening emails to Petraeus’ family friend, Jill Kelley. Kelley reportedly alerted the FBI when the emails began threatening her family. The FBI linked the emails to Broadwell, exposing her affair with Petraeus.
Now, more than two years after his resignation as director of the CIA, the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors are accusing Petraeus of providing classified information to Broadwell during the course of their relationship. They are recommending that felony charges be brought against the former military leader.
The new accusations are derived from an investigation focusing on Petraeus’ affair with Broadwell, and whether or not the retired general ever provided her with classified information while he was head of the CIA. It has been reported that FBI investigators found classified documents on Broadwell’s computer.
The findings coincided with President Obama’s statement, at the time Petraeus tendered his resignation, that there was no evidence that Petraeus had disclosed information that would endanger national security. But the findings did reportedly uncover evidence of a possible breach in security from one of our country’s most crucial intelligence positions. Officials at the justice department contend that many other individuals in much lower profile positions have been prosecuted for less.
The decision on whether or not to prosecute is now up to Attorney General Eric Holder, who was expected to make a decision on this matter by the close of 2014. Holder has already tendered his resignation from his office pending confirmation of his successor. Holder is keeping his cards close to the vest on the matter, not revealing his intentions on the matter, if any.
What is your opinion on the matter? Should Petraeus be brought up on felony charges? Did Petraeus betray his office and country? Or are politics playing too big of a factor in this situation?
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Military Connection: Did Petraeus Betray his Office? By Debbie Gregory