WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors are recommending that retired Army Gen. David Petraeus face criminal charges for passing classified information to his former mistress, Paula Broadwell, according to two U.S. officials.
Petraeus, who resigned as CIA director after news of his affair broke in 2012, has been under investigation since then for passing secret information to Broadwell. She is the author of a biography of Petraeus, titled All In. The officials who confirmed the recommendation, first reported by The New York Times, were not authorized to speak publicly.
A lawyer for Petraeus, Robert Barnett, had no comment when contacted about the recommended charges on Friday night. Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon declined comment on Friday as well.
Since his resignation, Petraeus has been interviewed by FBI agents at his home in the Washington suburb of Arlington. Part of the investigation centered on whether Petraeus had given Broadwell sensitive information and whether those documents were stored in an unauthorized place.
In this handout image provided by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), former Commander of International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan; CIA Director Gen. Davis Petraeus shakes hands with biographer Paula Broadwell, co-author of "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus" on July 13, 2011.
Photo Credit: Handout, Getty Images
Petraeus is the most famous soldier of the post-9/11 era. He led the 101st Airborne Division in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He went on to lead all forces in Iraq in Afghanistan.
Petraeus won praise from lawmakers and military analysts for being the mastermind of U.S.-troop buildup in Iraq at the height of the sectarian fighting there. The troop "surge" of 2006-2007 helped initially reduce violence in Iraq, but failed to have the lasting effect of creating the political space that Petraeus said was needed for forging a long-term peace in Iraq.
U.S. troops left Iraq in 2011 but have returned this year to help security forces beat back the threat from Islamic State extremists.
Petraeus, who has been teaching and consulting since stepping down from the CIA, has kept a low profile since leaving government service.
His affair with Broadwell broke into public view after Tampa socialite Jill Kelley complained to the FBI about harassing e-mails she had received from Broadwell. Kelley had struck up a friendship with Petraeus, who had led Central Command, which is based in Tampa. Broadwell, a former Army intelligence officer, has not been charged in the matter.
The scandal appeared to have dissipated but in April 2013, USA TODAY reported that FBI agents had visited Petraeus' home to question him about the handling of classified information. The recommendation of charges appears to the culmination of that probe.