Former CIA chief and four-star general David Petraeus just took a plea deal, in what many are considering the sweetest deal imaginable, considering what we now know about the eight classified “black books” Petraeus let his mistress and personal biographer Paula Broadwell see. He is pleading guilty to a low misdemeanor of “mishandling classified information” and will most likely avoid jail time, only receiving probation and a $40,000 fine, even though he also reportedly lied to the FBI about it.
The seriousness of the information handed over to Broadwell back in 2012 was not fully unveiled at the time. When the ex-CIA chief first handed over the secret material to Broadwell he told her that they were “highly classified” and contained “code word stuff.” We now have a better idea of what that “stuff” was. And, it’s not pretty.
According to court documents:
The black books contained everything from identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms diplomatic discussions, quotes and deliberative discussions from high-level National Security Council meetings, up to and including discussions with President Obama.
Not only that, but the black books also had “national defense information, including top secret/SCI and code word information.”
These were not just your ordinary, everyday secrets. This was information that required the former Spy Chief have access to in a moments notice, that Petraeus needed in times of national emergency.
Despite all this, Petraeus will escape any serious prosecution. What’s not fully understood yet, is how this is any different to what Edward Snowden did. On one hand, Petraeus was just trying to impress his girlfriend, whereas in the other, Snowden was knowingly trying to expose U.S. government lies about spying on the American people.
It seems – the only difference is – how high up Petraeus was on the food chain. When you’ve reached a certain high level status, you develop certain connections and as government has shown time and time again – politics, power, and justice is all about the influence you yield.
It’s very clear that not only did he give this highly classified information to this woman who he was sleeping with but he also lied to FBI agents back on Oct. 26, 2012, attempting at the time to cover it up when he was still Director of the CIA. Petraeus told agents he had never provided any classified information to Broadwell or facilitated her provision of the information.
He told this untruth, despite having acknowledged in writing on a previous occasion that:
I understand that providing false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation is a violation of law.
It doesn’t seem to be the case that government is unaware of what happened – in fact, just the opposite. Petraeus had such a successful career, that many seem to think that this shameful falling out from grace and from the limelight – including all the embarrassing publicity about his affair and damage to his marriage – that this is punishment enough.
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz) said that he considered this matter closed and expressed hope that:
Gen. Petraeus will continue to provide his outstanding service and leadership to our nation.
It’s all about who you know.
What may alarm most people is that Petraeus still holds onto his security clearance, even though he resigned from the CIA back in 2012 because of this conduct. It’s unclear if he will finally be stripped of his access after his plea deal is final.
Let’s also not forget that time Petraeus conveniently passed out during a highly contentious Armed Services Committee before Congress: