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If Petraeus weren't a general, he'd have had the book thrown at him

To the editor: Having spent five years in the Army as an enlisted soldier, I can tell you that a lower ranking soldier accused of doing what retired Gen. David H. Petraeus did would have had the book thrown at him. ("A double standard on government secrets for David Petraeus," editorial, March 5)

That Petraeus got off with a fine and probation for leaking classified information shows that elitism and favoritism is alive and well in Washington. The fact that Paula Broadwell, Petraeus' biographer and mistress, had security clearance is irrelevant. In military intelligence there's something called a "need to know," and it appears she was handed secrets that she wasn't cleared to see.

Justice appears to have peeked under the blindfold in this case.

Todd Thompson, Aliso Viejo

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To the editor: I think Petraeus would readily agree to serve time in jail if he could only have his reputation back. What he did was stupid and careless, but it was not done in bad faith.

Petraeus did not disclose classified information to reporters, and that is an important distinction. The editorial cites examples of people jailed for disclosing classified information to journalists; in those cases, what was leaked went on to be reported in the press.

None of Petraeus' pillow talk appeared in Broadwell's book. Furthermore, his years of service to our country should be a mitigating factor.

Hirbod Rashidi, Los Angeles

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