It appears David Petraeus’ apologies for his misconduct have had no effect on the Pentagon.
The former CIA director may be retroactively demoted for leaking classified information to his biographer and mistress Paula Broadwell in 2012, while he was still in office, according to a new report.
It is now up to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to decide whether or not Petraeus' rank should be maintained.
“The secretary is considering going in a different direction,” an anonymous defense official told The Daily Beast.
Petraeus, who served as CIA director from September 2011 to November 2012, first met Broadwell in 2006 when she was a graduate student. They crossed paths again in 2008 when she started a case study on the military official in 2008, according to USA Today. Their affair began in 2011 as Broadwell started working on his biography, All In: The Education of David Petraeus.
The following year in October FBI confronted Petraeus. In November, he resigned from the intelligence agency and finally admitted to having an affair with Broadwell.
Last September, the former four-star military chief apologized to the Senate Armed Services Committee: "Four years ago, I made a serious mistake — one that brought discredit on me and pain to those closest to me," he said. "It was a violation of the trust placed in me and a breach of the values to which I had been committed throughout my life."
Former Army Secretary John McHugh also maintains that no action be taken against Petraeus at all. But it is being suggested Petraeus’ impending punishment would be used by Carter to send a message that no senior official is above the law — and perhaps rightly so.
The Obama administration has largely been forgiving toward Petraeus when compared with the government’s treatment of whistle-blowers and other leakers of classified information.
Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. soldier, has been sentenced to 35 years in military prison for leaking state secrets to WikiLeaks. Stephen Kim, a former State Department contractor is currently serving a 13-month term for leaking information about North Korea to Fox News. And Edward Snowden, now living in an undisclosed location in Russia as of 2015, is wanted under the Espionage Act after leaking tens of thousands of top secret documents. If caught and convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison.
In stark contrast, Leon Panetta, former CIA director and secretary of defense, wasn’t prosecuted for divulging top secret details of the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden — a move that could have potentially jeopardized the safety of the Navy SEALs involved in the operation.
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If demoted, Petraeus would have to pay thousands of dollars in fines, adding to the disgrace of his already tarnished reputation.