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Petraeus Gets $100,000 Fine, 2 Years Probation

Davie Hinshaw
Charlotte Observer
Retired General David Petraeus arrives for his consolidated plea and sentencing hearings at the U.S. Courthouse in Charlotte.

David Petraeus, a former director of the CIA and a retired four-star general was sentenced today to two years probation and a $100,000 fine. The sentence was handed down Thursday afternoon at the federal courthouse uptown.

Acting U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose addressed the media after the proceedings:

"Today, David Patraeus admitted that he improperly removed and retained classified information, and also admitted to lying to the FBI and the CIA about his possession and handling of classified information."

WFAE's Tom Bullock was in the courtroom. He spoke to All Things Considered host Mark Rumsey about the case.

Mark: Petraeus was sentenced to 2 years probation and a $100,000 fine. Was this sentence a surprise?

Tom: Partially. Petraeus and the Justice Department had reached a plea deal earlier this year where the former general would plead guilty to one count of “unlawful removal and retention of classified materials." And, as we just heard from U.S. Attorney Rose, to obstructing justice by lying to the FBI and CIA as they investigated his case.

Still, under the plea the Justice Department suggested a sentence of two years probation and a $40,000 fine. Federal Magistrate Judge David Keesler agreed no jail time was needed for Petraeus, but found the fine was insufficient and more than doubled it to $100,000 – the maximum under the statute.

Mark: Petraeus could have been sentenced to as much as a year in prison, did they judge say why no prison term was needed.

Tom: The judge said he had to consider "the nature of the offense and the character of the defendant." He said Petraeus showed a serious lack of judgment, which stood in contrast to his-30 plus years in service to the country. Petraeus had this to say afterward, outside the courthouse.

"Today marks the end of a two and a half year ordeal that resulted from mistakes that I made. As I did in the past I apologize to those closest to me and many others including those who I was privileged to serve in government and military over the years."

Mark: Let's remind people about the details of what happened.

Tom: Petraeus was having an affair with his biographer – Paula Broadwell. And he allowed her to see the contents of eight notebooks, which Petraeus admits were full of highly classified information,  including the names of covert operatives, war strategies and notes of meetings with the national security officials and the president.

Under the plea, Petraeus was only charged with improperly keeping those notebooks – a misdemeanor. He wasn't charged with the more serious crime of giving that classified information to Broadwell.

And the judge granted some unusual privileges. Petraeus can travel freely, both domestically and internationally. And he can still own and possess guns, both of those are normally restricted to people under probation.

Tom Bullock decided to trade the khaki clad masses and traffic of Washington DC for Charlotte in 2014. Before joining WFAE, Tom spent 15 years working for NPR. Over that time he served as everything from an intern to senior producer of NPR’s Election Unit. Tom also spent five years as the senior producer of NPR’s Foreign Desk where he produced and reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Haiti, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon among others. Tom is looking forward to finally convincing his young daughter, Charlotte, that her new hometown was not, in fact, named after her.