Former CIA director David Petraeus agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified information in exchange for a prosecutor's recommendation he serve no prison time, the Wall Street Journal reports. Gen. Petraeus admitted to sharing “black books,” which contained his schedule and personal notes from his time as commander of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, with biographer Paula Broadwell, with whom he said he had an extramarital affair. The black books contained sensitive, classified information about the identities of covert officers, secret operations and military strategy.
After retiring from the military in 2011, Gen. Petraeus kept the black books in his private residence. That same year, he lent the books to Broadwell as she worked on the biography. Under a plea deal made public, prosecutors will recommend the judge impose a sentence of two years probation and a $40,000 fine, according to documents filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Charlotte, N.C. Prosecution of Broadwell would be tricky if she makes the case that she was acting as a journalist in writing her book. “If she can prove she was a journalist, the odds of her being prosecuted go way down,” Mark Zaid, a Washington, D.C., attorney specializing in national security, tells the Charlotte Observer. “There has not been a case against a journalist possessing or retaining or using classified information in decades.”