While serving as the Director of the CIA, Petraeus admitted to removing and retaining sensitive material, which was then shared with a mistress. Earlier this week, he had made a deal with the US Justice Department, which will ultimately spare him from releasing details about the affair that would otherwise been made public.
The crime carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in prison but only after he makes a formal plea will anyone know his exact punishment. Currently, Petraeus is still married to his wife Holly but he started an affair in 2011 with Paula Broadwell, a former officer with the Army Reserve.
After the affair was revealed, Petraeus resided as the CIA’s Director in 2012. However, he said at that time that he had done nothing criminally wrong. Petraeus is a retired four-star general who had at one time considered running for Vice President or even President of the United States.
Petraeus also led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and was a key player in counterinsurgency strategies. The majority of his awards came from time serving in Iraq although he was also credited with directing American forces in 2006 that fought Al Qaeda militants who had overtaken a number of large cities and provinces. Petraeus was heavily involved with the withdrawal of American forces in 2011 as well.
In spite of all his accolades, Petraeus has fallen from grace. The affair was first discovered by FBI agents who were investigating allegations of cyber-stalking made by Jim Kelly, a friend of Petraeus. Kelly said that an unnamed friend had been sending her emails warning her to stay clear of Petraeus.
As part of the investigation, agents discovered that it was Broadwell who was sending the threatening emails. The more they investigate her, the affair soon came to light but also that classified information had been shared by Petraeus.
Prosecutors with the Justice Department and the FBI wanted to press charges but a number of senators in the house provided ongoing support to Petraeus, one being Senator John McCain.
Since resigning from the CIA, it appears as if Petraeus had been cleared of any wrongdoing by President Obama. However, Obama added that he did not have evidence that materials shared would negatively impact national security. Obama went on to say that because of Petraeus, the country is safer.
Although disclosing the information to Broadwell did not impact national security, according to the FBI, there was a serious security breach. Now under the agreement made with prosecutors, Petraeus will plead guilty to a misdemeanor.