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David Petraeus, Former CIA Director, to Plead Guilty to Mishandling Classified Information

Prosecutors will recommend two years of probation and a fine for turning over "black books" that contained sensitive information to a biographer.
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Former CIA Director David Petraeus will plead guilty to mishandling classified information, a Department of Justice spokesperson said Tuesday.

The plea agreement outlines the terms in which prosecutors will recommend a sentence of two years of probation, with no jail time, and a $40,000 fine. The judge is not bound, however, by the prosecutors' recommendation, and the charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison. In exchange for the plea deal, the government agreed to not bring any additional criminal charges in the matter.

Petraeus, a retired four-star general and once America's top official in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, became CIA director in 2011. The question has been whether he gave classified information to a woman who was writing a book about him and who was also his mistress.

In its complaint, the government accused Petraeus of giving the biographer access to eight "black books" that contained classified information about his experience in Afghanistan, including his daily schedule and notes he took during meetings and briefings.

The material in the black books was used as source material for his biography, "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus," but no classified material ended up in the biography, according to the prosecutors. Petraeus delivered the black books in 2011 to a Washington, D.C., residence where his biographer was staying, and the books were later kept in his Arlington home.

The charges were the unexpected result of an earlier investigation into complaints made in 2012 by a Florida woman that she was receiving threatening emails. That probe led agents to the biographer. Some of the emails were leaked to the media, and the coverage exposed her affair with Petraeus.

In October 2012, FBI agents told Petraeus that he was under criminal investigation for mishandling classified information. He told the agents he’d never given classified information to the biographer. "These statements were false,” the complaint says.

Not long after, Petraeus stepped down from his CIA post.

In April 2013, the FBI seized the notebooks from an unlocked desk in Petraeus’ Virginia home.

Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona and chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, said that with the plea agreement "it is time to consider this matter closed."

"At a time of grave security challenges around the world, I hope that General Petraeus will continue to provide his outstanding service and leadership to our nation, as he has throughout his distinguished career," McCain said in a statement Tuesday.



— Jon Schuppe and Phil Helsel