In US Propaganda Exercise
Former CIA director and retired general appears in North Carolina court for leaking military documents to mistress.
April 23, 2015 “Information Clearing House” – “AJ” – Former CIA director and retired US general David Petraeus has appeared in court on charges of leaking secrets to a mistress who was writing his biography.
Petraeus attended sentencing in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Thursday after already agreeing to plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of unauthorised removal and retention of classified material.
As part of an agreement filed with prosecutors in March, the government will not seek any prison time.
Instead, Petraeus will agree to pay a $40,000 fine and receive two years of probation, according to court documents.
A retired four-star army general who led US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, Petraeus agreed not to contest the set of facts laid out by the government as part of the deal.
David Kendall, Petraeus’ lawyer, had no comment ahead of the plea and sentencing hearing.
Prosecutors have alleged that while the general’s biographer, Paula Broadwell, was writing her book in 2011, Petraeus gave her eight binders of classified material he had improperly kept from his time in Afghanistan.
Days later, he reportedly took the binders back to his house.
Among the secret information contained in the “black books” were the names of covert operatives, the coalition war strategy and notes about Petraeus’ discussions with President Barack Obama and the National Security Council, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said that after resigning from the CIA in November 2012, Petraeus had signed a form falsely attesting he had no classified material.
He also lied to FBI agents by denying he supplied the information to Broadwell, according to court documents.
On April 5, 2013, the FBI searched his home and seized the black books from an unlocked desk drawer in a first-floor study.
Civil liberties and government transparency advocates say the government’s lenient treatment of Petraeus suggests prosecutors maintain double standards.
Other leak case defendants have received harsher punishments, such as former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who was sent to prison.
The scandal marked an abrupt fall for Petraeus, a man who was at one point was thought to be a potential candidate for president.
Petraeus “Sweetheart Deal” Exposes Obama’s War on Whistleblowers
By The Institute Of Public Accucary
April 23, 2015 “Information Clearing House” – “IPA” – Reuters is reporting: “Former U.S. military commander and CIA director David Petraeus will appear in federal court in North Carolina on Thursday to face sentencing for allegedly leaking secrets to a mistress who was writing his biography.” Many, especially whistleblower advocates, contrast the light sentence — a fine and probation — Petraeus is widely expected to receive today with the harsh sentences whistleblowers have faced from Obama administration prosecutions.
Seven whistleblowers will be speaking to this and related issues at a news conference organized by ExposeFacts: “The Obama Administration’s War on Whistleblowers” on Monday. Speakers will include: William Binney (NSA), Thomas Drake (NSA), Daniel Ellsberg (Pentagon Papers), Raymond McGovern (CIA), Jesselyn Radack (Justice Department), Coleen Rowley (FBI) and Kirk Wiebe (NSA) — see media advisory.
The Star-Ledger in a recent editorial titled “Eric Holder’s brand of justice: Whistleblowers whacked, all-star generals walk” writes that: “What makes it galling is how Petraeus compares to men like Jeffrey Sterling.” Sterling is facing decades in prison for allegedly disclosing information to New York Times reporter James Risen about an apparently bungled CIA plot to give flawed nuclear plans to Iran. He was to be sentenced tomorrow (Friday) — immediately after Petraeus’ deal is finalized today — but his sentencing has been delayed and is now scheduled for May 11.
MARCY WHEELER, emptywheel at gmail.com, @emptywheel
Wheeler writes widely about the legal aspects of the “war on terror” and its effects on civil liberties. She is the “Right to Know” investigative journalist for ExposeFacts and blogs at emptywheel.net. She just wrote the piece “DOJ Claims Grossly Disparate Treatment Will “Promote Respect for the Law.” Past related articles include “David Petraeus Gets Hand-Slap for Leaking, Two Point Enhancement for Obstruction of Justice.”
See also Wheeler’s piece: “Desmond Tutu Calls for Justice for Jeffrey Sterling, Citing Petraeus Deal.”
JOHN KIRIAKOU, jkiriakou at me.com, @johnkiriakou
Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Real News recently conducted a series of interviews with him, available here, and reports he “was recently released from prison after serving 23 months of a 30 month sentence for exposing the CIA’s illegal torture program. … He’s under house arrest after spending 23 months in jail.”
Kiriakou said today: “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.”
JESSELYN RADACK, jradack at whistleblower.org, @jesselynradack
Radack is the director of National Security & Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project (GAP), the nation’s leading whistleblower organization. She will be speaking at the ExposeFacts news conference on Monday and said today: “Petraeus’ sweetheart plea deal, likely a $40,000 fine and two years of probation, for leaking classified information shows how deep the government’s hypocrisy is when prosecuting whistleblowers. I’ve had national security whistleblower clients who have disclosed far less sensitive information in the public interest and have faced decades in jail under Espionage Act charges. Patraeus’ comparative slap on the wrist shows the government has plenty of options when dealing with whistleblowers — I wish my clients could get such lenient sentences.
“Petreaus’ light sentence makes clear that the consequences for whistleblowing are far more severe than the negligible consequences for Petreaus’ leaks. GAP’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.
“The fact that Petraeus is the recipient of a such a comparatively light sentence is of particular significance considering that three most recent directors of the CIA — Leon E. Panetta, Petraeus and John O. Brennan — have all leaked classified information casually, regularly and with impunity.
“The leak prosecution double standard makes clear that the Obama administration’s record breaking number of Espionage Act prosecutions has nothing to do with protecting classified information and everything to do with punishing and silencing whistleblowers. If leaks were the real concern, Petraeus would receive punishment as harsh as the government demanded for other accused leakers.”
David Petraeus pleads guilty, apologizes for ‘pain’ he caused
David Petraeus – a West Point grad who succeeded in leading U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan before becoming the nation’s top spy – pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to sharing classified information.
U.S. Magistrate Judge David Keesler sentenced Petraeus to two years’ probation and a $100,000 fine, throwing out a recommended $40,000 fine because of the seriousness of the charges and to deter others. He called Petraeus’ actions a “serious lapse of judgment” that stood “in stark contrast to 37 years of achievement.”