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Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Petraeus Enters Plea Deal With Justice Dept.

(CN) - Retired general and former CIA Director David Petraeus has entered into a deal with the Justice Department in which he will plead guilty to one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material.

The plea will allow Petraeus to avoid trial and plead guilty to a misdemeanor. Prosecutors are asking a federal judge in north Carolina to sentence the one-time four-star general to no more than two years probation and also to require him to pay a $40,000 fine.

Petraeus resigned from the CIA in November 2012, after his extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, came to light. Federal prosecutors recommended filing charges related to the release of secret data to Broadwell in January.

Documents filed Tuesday morning at the Charlotte, N.C. Federal Court say that despite signing at least 14 separate nondisclosure agreements with the federal government, Petraeus retained some classified material he should not have, and that he later provided this information, in the form of "Black Book" notebooks, to Broadwell.

The documents say that during his tenure as commander of the international forces in Afghanistan, Petraeus "maintained bound, five-by-eight-inch notebooks that contained his daily schedule and classified and unclassified notes he took during official meetings, conferences, and briefings. The notebooks had black covers and, for identification purposes, defendant David Howell Petraeus taped his business card on the front exterior of each notebook.

"A total of eight such books ... encompassed the period of defendant David Howell Petraeus's ISAF Command and collectively contained classified information regarding the identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions, quotes and deliberative discussions from high-level National Security Council meetings, and defendant David Howell Petraeus's discussions with the President of the United States of America." the documents continue.

"The Black Books contained national defense information, including Top Secret/SCI and code word information," the documents say.

The court documents then go on to recount an August 4, 2011, conversation between Petraeus and Broadwell that the biographer recorded. During that conversation, Broadwell asks specifically about the black books, and why they never went through them together.

Petraeus explains that "they are highly classified, some of them."

"They don't have it on it, but I mean, there's code word stuff in there," the general says.

A few weeks later, on August 27, 2011, the court documents say, Petraeus emailed Broadwell to tell her he would provide the black books to her. He delivered the black books to a private home in Washington D.C., where she was staying the very next day, the documents say.

Petraeus didn't retrieve the books until September 1, 2011. After he resigned from the CIA, Petraeus again swore to protect national secrets, signing a document that said in part, "I give my assurance that there is no classified material in my possession, custody or control at this time,"

At the time he provided this assurance, the black books were still in his home, the court documents says.

The FBI retrieved the documents in April 2013, after executing a search warrant at Petraeus's Arlington, Va. home. They were found in an unlocked desk drawer on the first floor of the home, the court documents say.

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