By Jonah Bennett – Two prominent senators are coming to Gen. David Petraeus’s defense, urging the Pentagon not to retroactively punish the retired military official.
Sens. Jack Reed and John McCain argue retroactive demotions almost never occur and add the Petraeus case is even more unusual because he retired nearly four-and-a-half years ago in a letter written to Defense Secretary Ash Carter. He pled guilty to a misdemeanor in 2015 and paid a fine and accepted a two-year probation. He handed classified information over to his biographer with whom he was having an affair and then lied to investigators.
According to Reed and McCain, investigations should only be reopened in the advent of new evidence, fraud or some other error that renders the initial procedure null. Even then, that investigation should only occur within a reasonable time frame. Reed and McCain are arguing is that the time frame in this case is long past reasonable.
Since Carter is not compelled to reopen a review, the senators are concerned this apparent action, which is not yet confirmed, is “manifestly unreasonable and unfair.”
“We take this opportunity to remind you of General Petraeus’ long career of exceptionally distinguished, honorable and dedicated service to our Nation and to the soldiers he so brilliantly led to success in combat,” the senators write. “Under these circumstances we urge you to consider the the original retirement grade determination remain unchanged and that he be allowed to retain the title of General in recognition of his honorable service.”
Reed and McCain aren’t the only two complaining about Petraeus’s treatment.
GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush both think Petraeus should be left alone and pointed to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as a far more egregious example of mishandled classified data.
“I mean look at Petraeus — good guy, made a mistake, and by the way, leave the guy alone,” Trump said Wednesday at Oral Roberts University, according to CNN. “Leave Petraeus alone. Right? Enough already. Enough. They’ve gone after him, they’ve destroyed him, and yet Hillary’s flying safe and she did 100 times worse than what he did.”
Demotion is serious business. Petraeus would not only owe back pay from a four-star pension, but he would lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in future income. His reputation would also further be sullied. The Pentagon is reportedly considering a demotion in this case because it wants to maintain consistency in the treatment of its senior officers.
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