Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California does not want the US Justice Department to file criminal charges against the former head of the CIA David Petraeus for revealing classified information. The granddaughter of Jewish immigrants from Poland and the vice chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence feels that the former general already received a harsh enough punishment when he was forced to step down from the CIA.
The scandal around Patreus erupted at the end of 2012 when it was revealed that he had an affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell. The woman, who was herself married at the time of the affair, was also an army officer and a graduate of the US Military Academy West Point.
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Feinstein told CNN in an interview, “This man has suffered enough in my view. People aren’t perfect. He made a mistake. He lost his job as CIA director because of it. I mean, how much do you want to punish somebody? It’s done. It’s over. He’s retired. He’s lost his job. How much does government want?”
The New York Times reported on Friday that the Justice department formally recommended that US Attorney General Eric Holder file criminal charges against Patreus for allegedly leaking classified information to Broadwell. The paper said that the former general has no interest in any plea deal and that this is what led a frustrated Justice department to recommend the filing of formal charges against him.
Holder for his part, is reserving comment on the matter. He did tell CNN, “I don’t want to comment on what is an ongoing matter. I will say frequently those things that are leaked to the media are done so by people who are not in a position to know and are frequently inaccurate. Let me leave it at that.”
Republican Senators John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R S.C.) agree with Feinstein. They released a joint letter criticizing the Justice department which read, in part, “While the facts of the case involving General David Petraeus remain unknown and are not suitable for comment, it is clear that this investigation has been grievously mishandled.”
The two added, “It is outrageous that the highly confidential and law enforcement-sensitive recommendation of prosecutors to bring charges against General Petraeus was leaked to the New York Times.”