Perfect crimes for perfect criminals

There are four elements of a perfect crime; (1) motive, (2) opportunity, (3) the criminal act itself, and of course a crime wouldn’t be perfect unless the perpetrator escaped meaningful consequences; hence (4) the cover-up. If the definition of perfect crime were published in Webster’s Dictionary, a picture of David Petraeus would accompany the written characterization. Retired General David Petraeus, former Director of the CIA, pled guilty to compromising classified information, which included felony violations of the Espionage Act and Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA).(2)

Despite indefensible felony violations, Obama’s justice department cleared the way for a plea bargain that included two years’ probation and a $40,000 fine,(1) which amounts to no more than two or three months of General Petraeus’ military retirement pay. You may agree this raises “slap-on-the-wrist” plea bargain to a new level.

Regarding criminal prosecutions, the Constitution guarantees two important rights to accused criminals. First, the Fifth Amendment protects Petraeus from prosecution unless he is indicted by a grand jury.  However, we can be assured that David Petraeus wanted no part of a grand jury, especially one where the citizens have a say. The problem with our two-tiered justice system is when corrupt prosecutors refuse to indict corrupt political class insiders they build a firewall between the rule of law and equal justice for all. Here is where a Citizens’ Grand Jury could work its magic, but elitists in the political class have done a pretty good job of muffling those of us who see the purpose of a grand jury the same way as the Founders. In any case, the Sixth Amendment also mandates “the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury…..” Although Petraeus has the right to a jury trial, he fears an honest jury of his peers just as much as an honest grand jury, but before he can waive a jury trial in favor of a plea bargain, the U.S. Attorney must file documents outlining what prosecutors would be in for to prove Petraeus’ guilt before a jury. Here are the facts outlined in that document:

  • Petraeus kept journals; eight in all, known as his “black books,”
  • Those journals contained highly classified information including:
    • identities of covert officers,
    • war strategy,
    • intelligence capabilities and mechanisms,
    • diplomatic discussions,
    • notes on discussions from Natural Security Council meetings, and
    • notes regarding discussions with the President.
  • Petraeus lied to FBI agents when he denied he provided classified information to Paula Broadwell.(3)

Despite the highly sensitive information in his “black books” Petraeus handed them over to Broadwell, his biographer-mistress. By any legal interpretation these are clear, unequivocal felonies under the Espionage Act and Intelligence and Identities Protection Act, punishable by one to 15 years in prison. The irony here is that after Petraeus handed his journals over to Broadwell and two years before Petraeus’ plea bargain when Petraeus was Director of the CIA, he cheered John Kiriakou’s prosecution and two year and a half year prison sentence for disclosing the identity of a covert agent to a reporter.(3) In an announcement to all CIA employees in October, 2012 Petraeus asserted, “Oaths do matter, and there are indeed consequences for those who believe they are above the laws that protect our fellow officers and enable American intelligence agencies to operate with the requisite degree of secrecy.”(2) When Petraeus said this he had already handed over to Broadwell the black books containing the identity of at least one covert officer.

The entire Petraeus scandal was conveniently stonewalled until after Obama was elected in November, 2012 when Petraeus also resigned as Director of the CIA. With that Obama’s Department of Justice delivered the perfect crime on behalf of David Petraeus, and again demonstrated that wealth, power and influence are all that matter when elitists insiders get crosswise with the law.


  1. Adam Lerner, NSA whistleblower denounces Petraeus plea bargain, Politico, March 3, 2015.
  2. Andrew C. McCarthy, Patraeus is protected by politicized Justice Department, National Review, March 5, 2015.
  3. Ray McGovern, Gen. Petraeus: Too big to jail, Politico, March 5, 2015.

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