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Great All-American Hero War-Winnin' Savior and former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus has admitted to pillow-talking classified information into his mistress's ear, which is against the law, it turns out, who knew? But, despite our gleeful prediction in January that perhaps he would do some, uh, HARD time for betraying his country to get some strange, that won't be happening because what is he, some kind of common criminal?


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Instead, Petraeus cut himself a super sweet deal with the Justice Department:

Mr. Petraeus has agreed to plead guilty to one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, a misdemeanor. He is eligible for up to one year in prison but prosecutors will recommend two years of probation and a $40,000 fine.

Given that the crime of betraying your country can sometimes be punishable by death, 40 grand and the occasional check-in with a probation officer doesn't seem so bad. Especially since Petraeus can still make himself a nice chuck of change on the lecture circuit, where wingnuts still believe he is our greatest hero ever and was probably framed anyway, THANKS OBAMA.

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Plus he got those "teaching" "jobs" a couple years ago -- at the University of Southern California, "a job that he said paid extremely well," and at the City University of New York, which pays him only $1 because the initial salary arrangement of "$200,000 per annum, supplemented by funds from a private gift" turned out to create a whole big embarrassing scandal for Petraeus and the school, gee, wonder why. (It is because most teachers at CUNY do not get paid anywhere near that kind of ka-ching, that is why.) Oh, plus he was hired to be chairman of the board of the investment firm KKR Global Institute, which probably gives him a few bucks for showing up at meetings sometimes too.

So why is Petraeus GETTING OFF so easy? (Get it?) We'll let Popehat splain it for us:

Two reasons: money and power. Money lets you hire attorneys to negotiate with the feds pre-charge, to get the optimal result. Power — whether in the form of actual authority or connections to people with authority — gets you special consideration and the soft, furry side of prosecutorial discretion.

How nice for Petraeus. As Popehat observes, if he "were some no-name sad-sack with an underwater mortgage and no connections and no assets to hire lawyers pre-indictment," he probably wouldn't be able to get away with saying, "yeah, sorry about that, can we cut a sweet deal?" Prosecutors would have been all, like, "No, dude, you are going to rot in prison for your crimes!" As they often do against moneyless powerless leakers who are not named Petraeus.

Lucky for him, though, he is not one of those people, so he just writes out a check and gets to put this whole sordid "sexing his not-wife with state secrets" thing behind him. God bless America.

[NYT/Popehat]

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