Petraeus: Hillary Clinton is being treated fairly

posted at 1:21 pm on March 18, 2016 by John Sexton

In an interview with the Fox Business channel, David Petraeus said he believes Hillary Clinton is being treated fairly by investigators, contrary to “conspiracy theories” coming from both sides.

She’s being treated fairly. And I think that, you know, there are people…there are critics who will claim otherwise. There are supporters actually who will claim otherwise. Both sides are given to fantastical conspiracy theories. I think the debate among them and the treatment actually has been fair. And I think we’ll see how this plays out.

Petraeus was given two years probation and a fine for sharing information with his biographer Paula Broadwell. The case has often been compared to the situation with Hillary Clinton because both cases involve a high profile government appointee and classified information. Another similarity the cases is share is that (so far at least) there is no proof that the mishandling of classified information resulted in that information winding up in the hands of a foreign government. In Petraeus’ case, he showed books of classified information to Broadwell but that information never appeared in her book or anywhere else.

However, as I pointed out here, there are some significant differences in the two cases. For one thing, prosecutors had Petraeus on tape admitting that he knew the material in the notebooks was highly classified. So there was no question he knew at the time his actions were illegal. By contrast, Clinton has maintained for a year that nothing in her email was classified or, at least, not marked classified. In other words, she is claiming ignorance, i.e. even if classified info was there on her private server (and it was) she didn’t know it at the time. The other significant difference is that Petraeus lied to the FBI when first asked about what he’d done. Hillary Clinton has also lied repeatedly about her email server but not to the FBI. Lying to the FBI is a crime. Lying to the American people is politics as usual.

Finally, as the former CIA Director Petraeus likely still has a lot of friends in the intelligence agencies, but he doesn’t seem to be claiming any sort of inside knowledge here. It sounds as if he’s speaking as someone who knows from personal experience that career investigators in the FBI do not mess around with the mishandling of classified information. By some accounts there is already the belief inside the FBI that enough evidence exists to recommend indictment of someone or even several people. The investigation is said to be wrapping up by May, so we’ll have the FBI’s decision in a few weeks.

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