Former Central Intelligence Agency director David Petraeus has pled guilty to providing eight ‘black books’ of classified material to his biographer and former lover in a plea deal struck with the federal court.
He will not serve a prison sentence and will instead be on probation for two years and pay a $100,000 fine.
In his agreement with Charlotte federal court prosecutors, Petraeus (62) has admitted guilt for a single misdemeanor charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material.
Petraeus, a former four-star Army general, was accused of leaking state secrets to Paula Broadwell, his biographer and former lover.
The notebooks he lent her in 2011 while she worked on his biography. All In, contained identities of covert officers, notes from national security meetings, details about US intelligence capabilities, code words and more classified documents.
After receiving the notebooks back from Broadwell, Petraeus kept them at home in an unlocked drawer, as revealed in an FBI search of his home in April 2013.
Petraeus resigned from the CIA in November 2012. He later signed a form falsely attesting he had no classified material, prosecutors said.
Court documents also note Petraeus lied to FBI agents by denying he gave the classified information to Broadwell.
Broadwell’s book, All In, published in 2012, did not contain classified information, prosecutors said.
Because the classified information supplied to Broadwell was not published, Petraeus attorney David E. Kendall requested that Petraeus not be given any prison sentence.
“This is not a case about dissemination of classified information into the public,” he said.
Prosecutors had recommended two years of probation and a $40,000 fine. The judge, not bound by prosecutors’ recommendation, agreed with the probation period but increased the fine to $100,000.
Judge David Keesler said this was to “reflect the seriousness of the offense” and Petraeus committed a “grave and uncharacteristic error in judgement.”
After the hearing, Petraeus commented that he wants to leave the arduous two-and-a-half year ordeal behind him.
“I now look forward to moving on to the next phase of my life,” he said before departing from the federal court in Charlotte, NC.
In a similar case, former CIA officer John Kiriakou was sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of intentionally disclosing the identity of a covert agent to a reporter.
The then CIA director, Petraeus hailed the conviction as a victory for the agency saying "Oaths do matter, and there are indeed consequences for those who believe they are above the laws that protect our fellow officers and enable American intelligence agencies to operate with the requisite degree of secrecy."
As part of his deal, Petraeus agreed not to contest the set of facts laid out by the government.
David Deitch, a former federal prosecutor who has handled counterterrorism and national security issues, said those deciding Petraeus' fate likely weighed his decades of service to the nation when considering his punishment.
A trial could have potentially brought embarrassment to all parties involved, bringing the details of Petraeus’s affair into light and necessitating further inquiry into his breach of secrecy laws.
Petraeus served as the head of the CIA for a little over a year, resigning November 2012, when his affair with Broadwell became public.
Both have publicly apologised, maintaining their romantic involvement began only after his retirement from the military.
Petraeus served in the U.S. Army for 37 years, and was a decorated 4-star general. He acted as Commander of the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A), led United States Central Command (USCENTCOM), and was Commanding General, Multi-National Force – Iraq (MNF-I), overseeing all coalition forces in Iraq.
Petraeus currently holds the chairman post at the KKR Global Institute, part of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, a private equity firm.