CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Former CIA Director David Petraeus, whose career was destroyed by an extramarital affair with his biographer, was sentenced Thursday to two years’ probation and fined $100,000 for giving her classified material while she was working on the book.
The sentencing came two months after he agreed to plead guilty to a federal misdemeanor count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material.
The plea agreement carried a possible sentence of up to a year in prison. In court papers, prosecutors recommended two years’ probation and a $40,000 fine. But Judge David Keesler increased the fine to “reflect seriousness of the offense.” He said Petraeus committed a “grave and uncharacteristic error in judgment.”
Petraeus made a brief statement before he was sentenced, apologizing “for the pain my actions have caused.”
Mark Zaid, a Washington attorney who regularly represents government employees and military members in national security cases, said Petraeus’ punishment was lighter than what others in similar cases have received.
“There’s a double standard,” he said.
The agreement was filed in federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina, the city where Paula Broadwell, the general’s biographer and former lover, lives with her husband and children. The affair ruined the reputation of the retired four-star Army general who led U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As part of his deal, Petraeus agreed not to contest the facts laid out by the government.
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 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, prosecutors said.
Those binders were later seized by the FBI in an April 2013 search of Petraeus’ Arlington, Virginia, home.
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.
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