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Pentagon may demote ex-CIA director David Petraeus

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Former director of CIA and former commander of US Forces in Afghanistan General David Petraeus gives a speech after exiting the federal courthouse. (AFP)

The Pentagon is considering demoting former CIA director David Petraeus  over leaking classified information to his biographer while still serving in uniform, a US military official says.

The decision was made on Tuesday after Petraeus, the retired US Army general, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to giving highly classified information to his biographer and mistress, Paula Broadwell, back in 2012. The information reportedly came in the form of eight black books which he had compiled while serving as commander of US forces in Afghanistan.

Petraeus shakes hands with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, at an undisclosed location on July 13, 2011.

According to court papers, all the eight books “collectively contained classified information regarding the identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence capabilities and mechanisms, diplomatic discussions, quotes and deliberative discussions from high-level National Security Council meetings… and discussions with the president of the United States.”                     

US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter was said to be willing to consider overruling an earlier recommendation by the US Army for Petraeus not to have his rank reduced.

"The secretary is considering going in a different direction," a defense official told The Daily Beast online news publication, citing reasons of "consistent…treatment of senior officers who engage in misconduct."

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook also said that the Department of the Army was "still in the process" of providing information to Carter on the matter.

"Once the Secretary has an opportunity to consider this information, he will make his decision about next steps, if any, in this matter," Cook said.

The possible demotion of the ex-CIA director could cost a $50,000 pension cut in addition to a bigger blow dealt to his reputation.

Petraeus served as CIA director from September 2011 to November 2012. Prior to that, Petraeus served as the US commander in Afghanistan from June 2010 until July 2011.

He retired in 2011 with the rank of a four-star general, the highest rank a US Army officer can achieve.

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