CIA Director At the Time of Benghazi Attacks May Face Charges

As reported in November, the House Select Committee on Benghazi had to be re-authorized by the new Congress in order for the Committee’s work to continue. On January 6th, that Committee was re-authorized after the new Congress was sworn in. Three days later, the CIA Director at the time of the Benghazi attacks is reportedly facing prosecution for giving his biographer access to classified information, as reported by the New York Times:

The F.B.I. and Justice Department prosecutors have recommended bringing felony charges against David H. Petraeus, contending that he provided classified information to a lover while he was director of the C.I.A., officials said, and leaving Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to decide whether to seek an indictment that could send the pre-eminent military officer of his generation to prison.

The Justice Department investigation stems from an affair Mr. Petraeus had with Paula Broadwell, an Army Reserve officer who was writing his biography, and focuses on whether he gave her access to his C.I.A. email account and other highly classified information.

F.B.I. agents discovered classified documents on her computer after Mr. Petraeus resigned from the C.I.A. in 2012 when the affair became public.

Mr. Petraeus, a retired four-star general who served as commander of American forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan, has said he never provided classified information to Ms. Broadwell, and has indicated to the Justice Department that he has no interest in a plea deal that would spare him an embarrassing trial. A lawyer for Mr. Petraeus, Robert B. Barnett, said Friday he had no comment.

The officials who said that charges had been recommended were briefed on the investigation but asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it.

Mr. Holder was expected to decide by the end of last year whether to bring charges against Mr. Petraeus, but he has not indicated how he plans to proceed. The delay has frustrated some Justice Department and F.B.I. officials and investigators who have questioned whether Mr. Petraeus has received special treatment at a time Mr. Holder has led a crackdown on government officials who reveal secrets to journalists.

This is not the first time Petraeus has been at the center of coincidental or noteworthy events. Despite the Justice Department’s knowledge of his affair for several weeks prior to the 2012 election, it wasn’t until the day after the election that he resigned. Many have speculated that Petraeus got cold feet during the creation of the talking points ultimately used by then U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice in the days after the Benghazi attacks.

Based on the Select Committee having access to any information it wishes, Petraeus would likely prove to be a very valuable witness. Whether related or not, a felony charge hanging over his head could negatively impact his testimony. That it’s been well over two years since he resigned, the Justice Department’s refusal to either bring charges against Petraeus or announce that it won’t, remains extremely curious.

Last year, Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before the House Judiciary Committee and was questioned by Rep. Jason Chaffezt (R-UT) about the Department’s continued investigation of Petraeus:

In the days after the 2012 election, Charles Krauthammer explained why he believed Petraeus resigned when he did. Krauthammer’s explanation would seem to indicate that Petraeus had or has information about Benghazi that would do harm to the Obama administration.


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