Leaking Classified Info Not Such a Big Deal (Except When Whistleblowers Do It)
Defense Department says no demotion for General David Petraeus
In what some are calling another example of a two-tiered justice system, the Pentagon said Friday that it would not demote Retired General David Petraeus, who was convicted in 2015 of leaking classified information to his biographer and mistress.
The former CIA head reached a plea deal with the Justice Department last year, and the new development means no further action against Petraeus. "As you know, the Army completed its review of his case and recommended no additional action. Given the Army review, Secretary Carter considers this matter closed," Stephen C. Hedger, the assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs, wrote in a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee and seen by news outlets.
A demotion from his four-star general ranking "could have cost him tens of thousands of dollars a year in pension payments," the Washington Post reports.
As USA Today reports,
Petraeus, the highest-profile commander of his generation, lied to FBI agents, divulged a massive amount of sensitive data to Paula Broadwell, and fretted about how she handled them in an interview she recorded with him, court documents showed. She was the co-author of a biography about Petraeus titled, All In, The Education of General David Petraeus.
The federal court levied a fine of $100,000 against him and placed him on probation in the plea deal.
He served no prison time.
Whistleblowers like Daniel Ellsberg have already said the Petraeus case stood in stark contrast to the Obama administration's aggressive crackdown on whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Jeffrey Sterling, and John Kiriakou. And Jesselyn Radack, head of National Security and Human Rights at the whistleblower advocacy organization Government Accountability Project (GAP), said following Petraeus' sentencing last year that her organization's "whistleblower clients lost their careers and spent millions on legal fees while Petraeus was able to retain his security clearance, advise the White House, make lucrative speeches across the globe, and pull in a massive salary as a partner in one of the world's biggest private-equity firms."
Some Twitter users took to the social platform on Saturday to again highlight the contrast:
Pled guilty to mishandling CLAS while on active duty. Military punishment = None. Accountability is for the suckers. https://t.co/QtVfT8h9f5— Col. Morris Davis (@ColMorrisDavis) January 30, 2016
Definitely a more generous standard of "justice" when you breath the rarified air at the highest levels. https://t.co/TEyukIK5CY— Col. Morris Davis (@ColMorrisDavis) January 30, 2016
Double standard on justice: as whistleblower Chelsea Manning rots in prison, opportunist David Petraeus walks free https://t.co/vN8Ga5edxa— Compliance Campaign (@compliancecamp) January 26, 2016