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Ex-general, CIA chief Petraeus gets probation

Updated: 2015-04-24 09:13

The judge said the retired Army general's actions stood in stark contrast to his nearly four decades of public service.

Petraeus now serves as chairman for the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts' captive economic and geopolitical think tank, the KKR Global Institute. The White House also has continued to consult him on occasion for advice on national security matters.

Civil liberties and government transparency advocates had questioned the plea deal, saying the government's lenient treatment of Petraeus suggested prosecutors maintain double standards. Defendants in other leak cases have received harsher punishments, including prison.

"A slap on the wrist is the most one could say about what can barely be called a sentence for what could have been treated as serious crimes including espionage," said Michael Ratner, a US lawyer who represents WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

But Petraeus' attorney, David Kendall, said in court it would have been unprecedented to incarcerate him for the charge he faced, which carries a maximum prison term of one year.

"This is not a case about the dissemination to the public of classified information," Kendall said. "No classified information appeared in the biography. Not a single syllable."

A court document signed by Petraeus and prosecutors says that in 2011, just before he became the CIA director, the general illegally gave Broadwell access to official binders.

Known as "black books," the binders contained classified information including identities of covert officers, code word information, war strategy, intelligence capabilities, diplomatic talks and information from high-level White House National Security Council meetings, according to court records.

Petraeus also was accused of improperly storing classified materials at his Virginia residence and falsely telling the FBI in October 2012 that he had not shared any classified information with Broadwell.

US prosecutor James Melendres noted that Petraeus had been entrusted with the government's highest secrets.

"The defendant betrayed that trust," he said.

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