Prosecutors urge charging Petraeus with felony
January 09, 2015
General David Petraeus with Paula Broadwell in 2011
WASHINGTON — The FBI and Justice Department prosecutors have recommended bringing felony charges against retired General David H. Petraeus, contending that he provided classified information to a lover while he was director of the CIA, officials said. That leaves Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to decide whether to seek an indictment that could send the preeminent military officer of his generation to prison. The Justice Department investigation stems from an affair Petraeus had with Paula Broadwell, an Army Reserve officer who was writing his biography, and focuses on whether he gave her access to his CIA e-mail account and other highly classified information. FBI agents discovered classified documents on her computer after Petraeus resigned from the agency in 2012, law enforcement officials have said.
Petraeus, a retired four-star general who served as commander of US forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan, has said he never provided classified information to Broadwell, and has indicated to the Justice Department that he has no interest in a plea deal that would spare him an embarrassing trial. A lawyer for Petraeus, Robert B. Barnett, said Friday that he had no comment. Holder has said little publicly about the investigation. FBI Director James B. Comey, asked by reporters in December why it was taking so long, said, “I can’t say. I mean, I guess I could say, but I won’t say.” Marc Raimondi, a Justice Department spokesman, declined to comment
At a press conference shortly after Petraeus resigned, President Obama said he had no evidence that Petraeus had disclosed classified information “that in any way would have had a negative impact on our national security.” “We are safer because of the work that Dave Petraeus has done,” Obama said. “And my main hope right now is — is that he and his family are able to move on and that this ends up being a single side note on what has otherwise been an extraordinary career.” But investigators concluded that, whether the disclosure harmed national security, it amounted to a significant security breach in the office of one of the most trusted intelligence leaders. They recommended Petraeus face charges, saying lower-ranking officials had been prosecuted for far less.