Former CIA director David Petraeus pleads guilty to federal charge - US Justice Dept

US Gen David Petraeus poses with his biographer Paula Broadwell in Afghanistan in 2011. -- PHOTO: AFP 
US Gen David Petraeus poses with his biographer Paula Broadwell in Afghanistan in 2011. -- PHOTO: AFP 

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Former CIA Director David Petraeus has agreed to plead guilty to a single charge relating to mishandling classified information in a case arising from the ex-US Army General’s extramarital affair with a female Army Reserve officer, the Justice Department said on Tuesday. Documents disclosing 

Petraeus’s guilty plea were filed in federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina. The retired four-star general agreed to plead guilty to a charge of unauthorised removal and retention of classified material.

A law enforcement source said Petraeus is pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge and is unlikely to be sentenced to serve prison time. The source, who asked not to be identified, said it was possible that under the agreement Petraeus might be able to retain his US security clearance.

Petraeus faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison. But under the deal prosecutors have agreed not to oppose a sentence calling for no prison time, and the government and his lawyers are recommending the court impose a US$40,000 fine and two years of probation.

Petraeus holds a senior post at private-equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and will stay in his role of Chairman of the KKR Global Institute, the company said.

A Justice Department investigation into Petraeus had focused on whether he gave his mistress, Paula Broadwell, access to his Central Intelligence Agency email account and other highly classified information. Petraeus quit his post as CIA director in November 2012 after the extramarital affair became publicly known. 

Petraeus also was one of the leading US military commanders of recent times, having served as commander of American forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Petraeus had previously said he did not provide classified information to Broadwell, who was writing his biography, titled All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, along with another author at the time of the affair.

Court documents filed as part the deal indicate that Petraeus’s mishandling of classified information took place both while he was in the military and later when he served as CIA chief under President Barack Obama.

The plea deal enables Petraeus to avoid a potentially embarrassing criminal trial in which details of his affair promised to figure prominently. An attorney for Petraeus, Robert Barnett, declined comment. Broadwell’s lawyer also declined comment.