For John, BLUF: Shortcuts sometimes come back to bite you. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Columnist Eil Lake,♠ from Bloomberg News, has a piece published in The Stars and Stripes, the Service Member's newspaper. The headline is Petraeus, justice and DC’s culture of leaks and the dateline is 5 March 2015.
I was pointed to this article off of Facebook, when Reporter Carl Prine and "Doctrine Man" both provided a link.
In short, retired Army General David Petraeus has signed off on a Department of Justice statement of facts and faces a $40,000 fine. His crime is two fold. First, he handed over his private (and classified) notes to his biographer, for her to fact check the book she was writing—All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.♥ Second, he lied to the FBI about it.♦
I willingly stipulate that the General did wrong. What I can't really abide is the hypocrisy of the whole thing. Washington leaks like a sieve.♣ When I was assigned to the Joint Staff as a Division Chief I understood and I ensured that my people understood that something written today could be on the front page of The Washington Post tomorrow. As an example, we were working on issues of warning of war and the ability to take deterrent actions before a war broke out and a member of the DoD Staff leaked it out as we were preparing another Guns of August Scenario. Fortunately, it was pretty generic and no names were mentioned, but a friend in the Office of the Secretary of Defense was falsely accused of doing the leaking.
And now we have Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) being pursued by the Department of Justice. We even have Republican Senator Ted Cruz saying it smells fishy. The theory going around is that the Obama Administration is going after Senator Menendez because the Senator is opposing President Obama on the Iran nuclear negotiations.
And for those who think it doesn't happen, please remember Senator Ted Stevens, who lost his seat in the Senate when convicted of corruption before the election. A conviction that was set aside by the trial judge, Federal Judge Emmet G. Sullivan. Judge Sullivan referred to the conduct of the Department of Justice and the FBI "outrageous". Newly sworn in Attorney General Eric Holder sacked the whole team. And Ted Stevens walked free, albeit without his senate seat.
Regards — Cliff
♠ Eli Lake is a Bloomberg "View" columnist who writes about politics and foreign affairs.
♥ Not related to this plea deal with the Department of Justice, General Petraeus, in violation of the UCMJ, was having an affair with his biographer, who was also married.
♦ The clear rule is that the FBI can lie to you, but you can't lie to the FBI. Does that seem proper in a Democracy?
♣ And the Media is part and parcel of this whole leakage system. It is de rigueur in DC.