Press Statement Regarding Petraeus' Soft Plea Deal

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Andrew Harman, GAP Communications Director (815) 295-4340

Press Statement Regarding Petraeus' Soft Plea Deal

WASHINGTON - Today, the Justice Department handed former CIA Director David Petraeus a friendly plea agreement, which includes a recommendation of two years probation under 18 USC Sec. 1924 for illegally disclosing classified information to his mistress. The agreement highlights the grossly unfair double standard in so-called “leak” prosecutions, as eight whistleblowers have been charged under the draconian 1917 Espionage Act since 2008.

In regard to the plea deal, GAP’s Jesselyn Radack stated:

“The government has used the Espionage Act to overzealously prosecute GAP's whistleblower clients and threaten them with decades in prison. Petraeus’ cushy plea deal makes crystal clear that the government has more than enough tools to punish leaks without resorting to the heavy-handed Espionage Act.

“The Justice Department reserves the Espionage Act for whistleblowers like GAP clients Edward Snowden, Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou, who reveal information in the public interest, while well-connected, politically powerful leakers like Petraeus, whose leaks are of no benefit to the public, are given a slap on the wrist, or a promotion and a book deal. This selective and vindicate enforcement of the law has no place in a democratic justice system.”

Former GAP client John Kiriakou, who was prosecuted under the Espionage Act in 2012, echoed Radack’s frustrations, stating:

“I don’t think General Petraeus should have been prosecuted under the Espionage Act, just as I don’t think I should have been prosecuted under the Espionage Act. Yet only one of us was. Both Petraeus and I disclosed undercover identities (or confirmed one in my case) that were never published. I spent two years in prison; he gets two years probation."

Similarly, GAP client Thomas Drake, who was indicted under the Espionage Act in 2010, said:

“General Petraus willingly and knowingly removed, retained and disclosed highly classified information to someone not authorized to receive it. This action served no public good. I used every internal channel available to me as a whistleblower, and revealed only unclassified information evidencing massive waste, fraud, abuse and illegality to the tune of $4 billion. Yet I was charged with ten felony counts, five under the Espionage Act, and was labeled an enemy of the state, while General Petraus received a slap on the wrist. The government’s message is clear ­­– whistleblowing in the public interest will be punished, while disclosing classified information devoid of public value will get you a pass.”

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The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is a 30-year-old nonprofit public interest group that promotes government and corporate accountability by advancing occupational free speech, defending whistleblowers, and empowering citizen activists. We pursue this mission through our Nuclear Safety, International Reform, Corporate Accountability, Food & Drug Safety, and Federal Employee/National Security programs. GAP is the nation's leading whistleblower protection organization.

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