Proving the adage that it’s good to have friends in high places, retired four-star general David Petraeus received no jail time as part of a plea deal for disclosing classified information to his biographer and mistress-at-the-time Paula Broadwell, Vice News reported.
Instead, Petraeus was fined $100,000 and will be on probation for two years. He pleaded guilty last month “to one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material.”
The leniency that Petraeus was shown when compared to the punishments received by whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and John Kiriakou, who both received jail time for their actions, shows the hypocrisy in these cases.
“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,” Kiriakou told Vice, “yet only one of us was.”
Kiriakou, who was released in February but remains under house arrest, highlighted similarities between both men’s actions and plea bargains struck with prosecutors. In 2012, Kiriakou admitted to revealing the identity of a covert officer to a freelance journalist who did not publish the name. Petraeus also shared names of secret operatives in the black binders he shared with Broadwell in 2011 for her book All In. The punishments could not have been more disparate.
“Both Petraeus and I disclosed undercover identities — or confirmed one in my case — that were never published,” Kiriakou said. “I spent two years in prison; he gets two years’ probation.”
“Petraeus’s conduct was far more outrageous and potentially harmful to the United States than anything Edward Snowden, Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou, Chelsea Manning, Stephen Kim, or Jeffrey Sterling allegedly or actually did,” national security and human rights attorney Jesselyn Radack told Vice.
“Petraeus was never even indicted — for anything, and he pleaded guilty not under the draconian Espionage Act, but to a minor misdemeanor under a less severe law,” Radack said, adding that her clients, like Edward Snowden, “would welcome the sweetheart deal” Petraeus got.
It’s obvious that Petraeus only got this deal because of his position. If he had simply been a lower-ranking soldier – as evident by the prosecution of Manning, he would be facing decades in jail too. At least the whistleblowers were disclosing information for public interest, not just sharing secrets with their mistresses.