At this point Jack Teixeira is alleged to have posted classified intelligence documents to the web, but there is no direct evidence that he actually was the one who placed those documents in a chat room. That remains to be seen if the allegation, which comes from one of the members of the chat room, can be proven in court. If that cannot be proven, he still faces potential charges on mishandling classified information.
Well, what has been the U.S. Government’s policy towards those who “mishandle classified information?” I have two names for you — Sandy Berger and General David Petraeus.
Let’s start with Sandy Berger:
Sandy Berger, who was President Clinton’s top national security aide, pleaded guilty Friday to taking classified documents from the National Archives and cutting them up with scissors.
Rather than the “honest mistake” he described last summer, Berger acknowledged to U.S. Magistrate Deborah Robinson that he intentionally took and deliberately destroyed three copies of the same document dealing with terror threats during the 2000 millennium celebration.
“Guilty, your honor,” Berger responded when asked how he pleaded.
The charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison and up to a $100,000 fine.
However, under a plea agreement that Robinson must accept, Berger would serve no jail time but instead pay a $10,000 fine, surrender his security clearance for three years and cooperate with investigators. Security clearance allows access to classified government materials.
Mr. Berger, now deceased, was no 21 year old kid. A college graduate, a lawyer and a longtime government political appointee, with stints at the U.S. State Department and the National Security Council, Berger had both the legal and work experience to understand the implications of mishandling classified intelligence. He was guilty, by reason of his confession, and only had to pay a $10,000 fine. Nothing like having friends in high places to give you a pass for breaking the law.
Then we have General David Petraeus. During his tenure as CIA Director, Petraeus shared classified intelligence documents with his mistress:
David Petraeus, the retired US army general and former CIA director responsible for the development of the hugely influential “counter-insurgency” strategy used in Iraq and Afghanistan, was sentenced on Thursday to two years’ probation and ordered to pay a fine of $100,000 for sharing highly classified information with his lover and biographer, Paula Broadwell. . . .
The affair was discovered after Jill Kelley, a Florida socialite, was sent threatening messages from an anonymous email account in May. She notified a friend who worked at the FBI, who traced the emails to Broadwell.
The affair did not become public until after the presidential election in November, when Petraeus tendered his resignation to the White House. Obama later accepted his offer of resignation.
But the saga wasn’t over. After Petraeus resigned, it emerged that Broadwell had been given a set of eight notebooks which contained classified information – including codewords and military strategy – by the general.
Initially Petraeus lied to investigators, saying that following his resignation from the CIA he had no classified documents in his possession. However, an FBI search of the general’s house in April 2013 found the notebooks in an unlocked drawer in his study. . . .
Petraeus pleaded guilty in March in a federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina, to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified information. Under the terms of his plea deal, he escaped possible jail time and an embarrassing public trial.
So, let’s recap — Petraeus gave classified information to someone not cleared to possess it, he lied to the FBI and he kept the classified information in an unlocked, non-secure location. That should have been a felony but, once again, if you are part of the right club you get a slap on the hand, a misdemeanor and, best of all, some sweet corporate jobs:
General David H. Petraeus (US Army, Ret.) (New York) is a Partner at KKR and Chairman of the KKR Global Institute, which he established in May 2013. He is also a member of the boards of directors of Optiv and OneStream, a Strategic Advisor for Sempra and Advanced Navigation, a personal venture investor, an academic, and the co-author (with British historian Andrew Roberts) of “Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine” (October, 2023).
Maybe, just maybe, Jack Teixeira has followed the careers of Berger and Petraeus and decided that mishandling classified documents could be his ticket to fame and fortune. My point is that the U.S. Government has no problem beating up little guys who go astray while giving “players” a get out of jail free pass. So much for Justice being blind, i.e., treating everyone the same regardless of their social position, friends and wealth. The U.S. justice system increasingly resembles a third world clown show.
Remains to be seen how Jack Teixeira will be treated.
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