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Former CIA chief Petraeus to plead guilty to sharing classified papers



Former CIA chief Petraeus to plead guilty to sharing classified papers with his mistress

Disgraced military chief could face a year in prison after agreeing to plead guilty to showing biographer classified material during fling

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 March, 2015, 1:26pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 March, 2015, 7:35am

Associated Press in Raleigh, North Carolina


David Petraeus and former lover Paula Broadwell. Photo: AP

Former CIA director David Petraeus, whose bright political future was all but destroyed over an affair with his biographer, has agreed to plead guilty to charges he shared classified material with his mistress for her book.

The plea agreement — which carries a possible sentence of up to a year in prison — represents another blow to the reputation of the retired four-star Army general, who led American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and was perhaps the most admired military leader of his generation.

Petraeus, 62, agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanour count of unauthorised removal and retention of classified material. The agreement was filed in federal court in Charlotte, where Paula Broadwell, the general's biographer and former mistress, lives with her husband and children.

In court papers, prosecutors recommend two years of probation and no prison time - but the judge who hears the plea is not bound by that.

No immediate date was set for a court hearing for Petraeus to enter the plea.

Prosecutors said that while Broadwell was writing her book in 2011, Petraeus gave her eight binders of classified material he had improperly kept from his time as the top military commander in Afghanistan. Days later, he took the binders back to his house.

Among the secrets contained in the "black books" were names of covert operatives, the coalition war strategy and notes about Petraeus' discussions with President Barack Obama and the National Security Council.

Those binders were later seized by the FBI in a search of Petraeus' Arlington, Virginia, home, where he had kept them in an unlocked drawer.

Prosecutors said that after resigning from the CIA, Petraeus signed a form falsely attesting he had no classified material. He also lied to FBI agents in denying he supplied the information to Broadwell, according to court documents.

Petraeus' lawyers, David Kendall and Robert Barnett, declined to comment.

Petraeus admitted having an affair with Broadwell when he resigned as CIA director in November 2012. Both publicly apologised and said their romantic relationship began only after he had retired from the military.

Broadwell's glowing biography of him, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, came out in 2012, before the affair was exposed.

He held the CIA post less than a year, not long enough to leave a significant mark on the spy agency. The core of his identity has been as a military man.

A Ph.D with a reputation as a thoughtful strategist, Petraeus was brought in by then-president George W. Bush to command multinational forces in Iraq in 2007, a period when the war appeared to turn in favour of the US.

Petraeus' command coincided with the "surge" of American forces in Iraq and a plan to pay Sunni militias to fight al-Qaeda in the country.

With American help, the Sunni tribes were able to push out insurgents and enable US troops to withdraw in 2011.

Those same Sunni areas are now controlled by the Islamic State group, which evolved from the remnants of al-Qaeda after Iraq's Shiite-led government proved weak.

Petraeus was promoted to commander of US Central Command, which has authority over the Middle East. When general Stanley McCrystal was sacked in 2010 by Obama as commander in Afghanistan after his staff made impolitic remarks to a Rolling Stone reporter, Petraeus was brought in to replace him.

He wrote the Army manual on counterinsurgency, a doctrine he embraced throughout his career but which has fallen out of favour in recent years.


Release of Mosul offensive timings 'a mistake', says U.S. Defence Secretary

A US military officer's media briefing about plans for an Iraqi-led ground offensive in Mosul, including its expected timing, was a mistaken disclosure of "military secrets", Defence Secretary Ash Carter said.

The officer, whose presentation for journalists at the Pentagon on February 19 was authorised by Central Command, said the US wanted the Iraqis to launch the offensive in April or May, although he also said it might go later.

"That clearly was neither accurate information nor, had it been accurate, would have been information that should be blurted out to the press," Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "So it's wrong on both scores."

It now appears likely that the offensive will not begin this spring, with Iraq's security forces requiring more time for US-organised training.

It will likely mark a decisive moment in the campaign to dislodge Islamic State from Iraq.

Islamic State fighters overran Mosul last June. Iraqi government forces folded quickly, leading to the start of a US-led bombing campaign in Iraq in August.

Referring to the Mosul offensive, Cater said: "The important thing is that it will get done when it can be done successfully. "And even if I knew exactly when that was going to be, I wouldn't tell [the press]."

An internal investigation into the briefing is now under way.