Gen. Petraeus Leaked Classified Info To Journalists, Sent Sensitive Documents To Non-Secure Email Accounts

from the DOJ-points-to-lightly-stung-wrists-as-proof-justice-has-been-served dept

General Petraeus, despite turning over "little black books" filled with classified info to his mistress/biographer (Paula Broadwell), is now serving out his mild non-sentence by suffering through high-paying speaking gigs. The government -- "punishing" one of its own -- ended up implying there was somehow a difference between Petraeus and others who turned over classified information to journalists.

But there appears to be zero difference between Petraeus and whistleblowers who received much harsher treatment. Josh Gerstein of Politico reports:

"There is a recorded conversation between Petraeus and, inter alia, Washington Post reporters, which, based on the information and belief of your affiant, occurred in or about March 2011," Special Agent Diane Wehner wrote. "In the conversation, Petraeus stated, 'I would really love to be on background as a senior military officer.' Later in the recording, Petraeus discusses sensitive military campaigns and operations, some of which, on the basis of a preliminary review ... is believed to contain classified information, including information at the Top Secret level."

Apparently, the difference between having your life destroyed and having your life slightly inconvenienced depends on how you've portrayed the government to the press with your links. Leaks made in support of government activity have always received a warmer reception.

The government may believe Petraeus is no common leaker, but it's also going to have to extend its hypocritical shrug to encompass the phrase, "He's no Hillary Clinton."

The FBI affidavit also indicates that investigators believed Petraeus "likely" agreed to help Broadwell gather classified information from others. In 2011, Broadwell wrote to an Army lieutenant colonel seeking details about his unit's operations. The officer replied by asking for "a good SIPR number," referring to a government network for handling classified information.

"If you have classified material, Gen Petraeus has been gracious enough to allow me to have you send the storyboards and material to his SIPR account; I'll pick them up as soon as you send the word! I've copied him on this email," Broadwell wrote.

Yes, General Petraeus sent classified info to several email addresses (both Broadwell and Petraeus used more than one account, along with burner phones, to communicate), none of which appear to have been designated as secure.

The FBI apparently pushed for felony charges under the Espionage Act, but the DOJ overrode it, allowing Petraeus to walk away with two years probation on a lesser "mishandling" charge. I'm sure the FBI feels the same thing will happen again with Clinton, no matter what it uncovers during its investigation of her private email server usage. According to former AG Eric Holder, Petraeus wasn't treated differently than any of the other leakers the DOJ has prosecuted over the past several years. It just looked that way because of reasons Holder won't discuss.

"There were some unique things that existed in that case that would have made prosecution at the felony level — and conviction at the felony level — very, very, very problematic."

In the context of Petraeus' actions, "problematic" seems to be another way of saying "embarrassing." Holder's statement to Politico tries to portray the prosecution as lacking in evidence to make a felony charge stick. But the evidence appears to be there. The only thing lacking was the will to do so, both by the DOJ and the administration guiding its moves.

Filed Under: classified info, david petraeus, espionage act, high court, leaking, low court


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 10:45am

    The govt is so corrupt they don't even have to pretend to hide it anymore.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 11:03am

      Re:

      He clearly has some bit of information that would be leaked if he were to disappear or go to jail. So it is even more corrupt than you thought or they wouldn't have made this deal.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 12:16pm

        Re: Re:

        It's self protection, in not wanting to set a precedent of actually holding government officials liable for their criminal acts.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2016 @ 6:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          that might lead to getting rid of every corrupt official then where would we go after we had named 90% of the government as corrupt traitors?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 11:30am

      Re:

      they have no reason to. The police are more than willing to prop them up as long as they are allowed to brutalize, steal and murder anyone they want to with next to no consequences.

      The alphabet agencies have been given free reign to commit whatever crimes they want in return for spying on the citizens.

      The courts rule in favour of the government 9/10 as long as the phrase national security is used.

      The american citizen has proven so far to talk about it but not really stand up to these constant abuses against their law given rights. save for the odd group here or there.

      What reason would a tyranny have to pretend they are not one exactly?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 9 Jun 2016 @ 11:00am

    Problematic:

    "There were some unique things that existed in that case that would have made prosecution at the felony level — and conviction at the felony level — very, very, very problematic."

    Entirely accurate. Those "unique things" are "friends in high places". A conviction at the felony level of the "wrist slap plus hug" kind would set a terrible, terrible precedent for whistleblower manhunts, under Espionage Act and whatever else.

    So the solution is to not even try prosecuting a member of the "good old guys" cabaal for the kind of acts you want to make others regret the rest of their life.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jordan Chandler, 9 Jun 2016 @ 11:01am

    Hmmm

    How many years in prison did they give Chelsea Manning for the same thing? What would they do to Snowden?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 9 Jun 2016 @ 1:13pm

      Re: Hmmm

      How many years in prison did they give Chelsea Manning for the same thing?

      They didn't. You don't listen. "Legal precedent" would have made it hard to explain why the same thing puts one person into jail for decades while letting another person roam free. That's what "There were some unique things that existed in that case that would have made prosecution at the felony level — and conviction at the felony level — very, very, very problematic." is about. Since they did not even prosecute Petraeus at felony level, nobody can complain that the verdict for him is ridiculously different from that of Manning.

      Judges aren't allowed to nilly-willy make up verdicts to their liking, but the DOJ has "discretion" to prosecute. Or not.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 6:54pm

        Re: Re: Hmmm

        Judges aren't allowed to nilly-willy make up verdicts to their liking, but the DOJ has "discretion" to prosecute. Or not.

        Yeah, good old selective enforcement.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 11:02am

    So Much for American Exceptionalism

    The United States has become just another country where the government is run by and for the wealthy and connected and everybody else is a serf.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    scotts13 (profile), 9 Jun 2016 @ 11:19am

    Hey, Deckard!

    "You know the score, pal! If you're not a cop, you're 'little people.'"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 12:37pm

      Re: Hey, Deckard!

      And cops just replaced the task masters from the plantations of yesteryear. The elite have always given a chosen few the right to abuse the lower classes.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 11:25am

    Of course there is a difference he is one of the "nobility" They have a whole set of laws that only apply to them. Us serfs/slaves have to make do with a much harsher, guilty until they decide we are innocent set of courts.

    Where did you think you were, In some sort of equal rights for all country?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Constantine La, 9 Jun 2016 @ 12:13pm

    It's his rank

    As anyone who's been in the Army would know, it was because he's an officer. If he was an enlisted (or a low ranked bureaucrat), he'd get a shit storm.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 12:30pm

    "He started it first"

    "very, very, very problematic"

    ie couldn't risk it because Petraeus had information about similar or worse misdeeds by other highly placed folk that might be revealed. Can't pull on one thread or the whole cloth might be unravelled.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Pronounce (profile), 9 Jun 2016 @ 12:39pm

    We The People, For The People

    Went out the window as soon as the elites created exceptions to the rules.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 1:02pm

      Re: We The People, For The People

      It went out the window when we decided it was okay for our side to lie, cheat, and steal so long as our side served our purposes. Only to turn around and bitch about the corruption on the other side for doing the same damn thing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stosh, 9 Jun 2016 @ 1:01pm

    Because if they treated Petraeus harshly, they would set up Hillary for a life sentence...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 2:11pm

    So what you do is prosecute Petraeus. Then have Obama pardon him, and Hillary after her shame of an investigation, just as he leaves. Then you have a precedent set for everyone else and you keep the high elite safe.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 10 Jun 2016 @ 12:15am

      Re:

      Legally this is precedent. But it looks bad to pardon someone who sells state secrets for self-aggrandization and sex while locking people away for decades who uncover large-scale constitutional violations (and a deliberately criminal government).

      That just doesn't work well propagandawise. The earlier you sort this into the "and now for something completely different" category, the easier it gets to bluster your way through.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 8:06pm

    Cognitive dissonance

    I am really confused about what point you're trying to make. If it's that people are treated differently based on whether they're politicians, generals, soldiers, or civil servants, then I get that. If you're implying that a candidate for US president shouldn't be subject to the rules because others got off easy, then I can't follow your logic. A set of cases that clearly indicates a corrupt process doesn't require us to condone further corruption. It should incite us to demand that our government shall never again give a pass to anyone who willingly or carelessly violates the public trust.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jim, 10 Jun 2016 @ 6:38am

    hatracks?

    I hope I got my waders on, this is deep. Guess you have never heard of Nixon/Ford? Check it out. How about Regan and the iatolla, or Regan and North? Check it out.I'm pointing out how long this has been going on. It's not a new issue. The new issue is for you to take your eyes off the ball of the election, and pass the popcorn please, to take your eyes off the candidates, chosen by the few. Not the many. They really wanted a puppet like betrayus.another CIA wonk in the wh. Like bill, he was easily controlled by sex. But who was she working for? No one says. But it shows they got away with corrupting our government. Defeating the will of the people with lies and deceit. Sounds like the yellow press again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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