Yesterday, former CIA head and retired General David H. Petraeus was sentenced for leaking classified information about the war in Afghanistan to his biographer/mistress, Paula Broadwell. Broadwell published a biography about him in 2012, “All In: The Education of David Petraeus,” before the affair was exposed. The Charlotte Observer wrote that “[w]ithout the weight and gravitas of his military uniform, the former military icon seemed every bit the white-collar criminal suspect as he passed through a media gauntlet on his way into the courthouse.” Judge David Kessler sentenced him to two years of probation and a $100,000 fine—more than double to the $40,000 he agreed to— as part of his plea deal for one federal misdemeanor count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material. He faced up to one year in prison for this charge, and Judge Kessler said he increased the fine to “reflect seriousness of the offense.” Before sentencing, General Petraeus apologized for the pain his actions have caused and afterwards proclaimed that “[t]oday marks the end of a two-and-a-half-year ordeal” and that he looks “forward to moving on with the next phase of my life.” General Petreaus, who is now 62, resigned from the CIA after the affair became public.
According to the government, General Petreaus gave Broadwell eight binders of classified material he kept from his time as top military commander in Afghanistan. Some of the information contained in these binders included names of covert operatives, the coalition war strategy, and notes about General Petraeus’ discussions with President Barack Obama. Later, the FBI seized the binders from General Petraeus’ home in Arlington, Virginia, home. General Petraeus resigned from the CIA in November 2012, and signed a form that stated he had no classified material. This and the statements he told FBI agents denying that he gave Broadwell information were documented in court documents. Court documents also reference an email where General Petraeus promises to give the books to Broadwell.
Judge Kessler saw this as a just sentence for what appeared to be an aberration in an otherwise remarkable life. Judge Kessler noted that General Petreaus’ criminal conduct was “in stark contrast to 37 years of achievement.” The sentencing yesterday was the culmination of what the New York Times deemed “a spectacular fall” from grace for General Petreaus, a man once considered as a possible presidential candidate.