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Legendary General Could Spend A Year In Prison

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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Former CIA Director and legendary general David Petraeus is set to be sentenced Thursday for leaking secrets to his biographer and mistress, Paula Broadwell.

Two months ago, 62-year-old Petraeus signed an agreement accepting the criminal misdemeanor charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, AP reports. This charge carries the possibility of up to a year in prison, even though government lawyers have said they will not pursue that sort of punishment. However, that agreement is not binding on the judge, who can make Petraeus pay $40,000 and face prison.

The extramarital affair with Army Reserve officer Broadwell devastated his career and public life, with the more damning charge being that in the course of their relationship, Petraeus handed over eight binders of classified information which he originally received during his time as the highest U.S. commander in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those binders should never have been kept after his command. The “black books” contained names of covert operatives, as well as notes from discussions Petraeus had with President Barack Obama.

In 2013, two years after the binders were given to Broadwell, the FBI raided Petraeus’ home in Arlington, Virginia, and seized the binders, finding them easily available in an unlocked desk drawer. Just a year later, when resigning from the CIA, Petraeus signed a statement saying that he did not have access to any classified information. Caught in one lie, Petraeus added another by initially maintaining that he did not hand over the binders to Broadwell.

According to Reuters, Petraeus’ lawyer, David Kendall, did not have any comment on the sentencing hearing.

The light sentence proposed has caught the eye of lawyers in the civil liberties field, who argue that others have faced much stiffer penalties.

“The problem is not that David Petraeus is getting lenient treatment,” Ben Wizner, a lawyer for Edward Snowden, told Reuters. “The problem is that lenient treatment is only available to people in high places.”

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