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Pentagon declines to demote Gen. David Petraeus for mishandling classified information

Pentagon declines to demote Gen. David Petraeus for mishandling classified information
Media reports had surfaced that indicated the Pentagon was considering downgrading Army Gen. David H. Petraeus to a three-star general. (Cliff Owen / Associated Press)

The Pentagon says it will not demote retired Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified information while CIA director, for an incident stemming from an affair with his biographer.

"The Army completed its review of his case and recommended no additional action," Stephen C. Hedger, assistant Defense secretary for legislative affairs, wrote to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Friday. Given that review, Hedger said Defense Secretary Ash Carter "considers this matter closed."

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter Saturday. The Pentagon had no further comment.

Media reports had surfaced that indicated the Pentagon was considering downgrading Petraeus to a three-star general. Such a move, if taken, would have reduced his retirement salary.

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In response, committee leaders urged Carter not to demote Petraeus, saying the retired officer had "admitted his guilt and apologized for his actions."

At a committee hearing Jan. 21, President Obama's nominee to be the Army's top civilian official said he believed no further action should be taken against Petraeus.

Petraeus resigned from the CIA in November 2012 after an extramarital affair with biographer Paula Broadwell. He pleaded guilty last year to a misdemeanor count of unlawful removal and retention of classified materials. He was spared prison as part of his plea and was given two years' probation by a judge who faulted him for a "serious lapse in judgment."

Petraeus admitted that he lent Broadwell eight binders containing highly classified information regarding war strategy, intelligence capabilities and identities of covert officers. He kept the binders in an unlocked desk drawer at his home instead of a secure facility, which is required for classified material.

When initially questioned by the FBI, he denied having given Broadwell classified information, but in his plea deal he avoided being charged with making a false statement.

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