"[Petraeus] is, I think, legitimately regarded as an expert when it comes to the security situation in Iraq, so I think it makes a lot of sense for senior administration officials to, on occasion, consult him for advice," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters during Monday’s press briefing.
Earlier this month, Petraeus accepted a plea deal approved by Attorney General Eric Holder in a case over the unauthorized sharing of classified information. In the deal, Petraeus admitted that he stored classified documents in his home shared the information with his then lover, Paula Broadwell, who had no security clearance and was in the process of writing a glowing biography of him. He then lied to the FBI about the lapse, normally a felony.
In exchange for a guilty plea, Petraeus was charged with one misdemeanor count of mishandling classified information and fined $40,000. The Justice Department declined to seek jail time.
— Kevin Siers (@KevinSiers) March 7, 2015
The leniency shown Petraeus, and opposed by prosecutors, was a "profound double standard," according to the lawyer for Stephen Kim, an imprisoned former State Department contractor in the middle of serving a 13-month sentence for passing one classified report about North Korea to Fox News.
— unR̶A̶D̶A̶C̶K̶ted (@JesselynRadack) March 16, 2015
During the period when Petraeus was under investigation, some noticed a marked change in how he discussed Obama's foreign policy, leading some to comment that the prosecution made him "trim his sails" and kept him more friendly to the administration, compared to others — like former defense secretaries Leon Panetta and Robert Gates — who had voiced criticism.
The White House emphasized Petraeus’ expertise in the region as sufficient justification for the White House to continue to seek his advice. He no longer has a security clearance.
“General Petraeus is somebody who served for a number of years in Iraq, he commanded a large number of American military personnel in that country,” Earnest said. “Over that time he developed strong relationships with some of his Iraqi counterparts and with some of Iraq’s political leaders.”
Since the scandal of his affair first broke in 2012, leading to his resignation as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Petraeus has hardly been slowed down by his legal troubles. CUNY offered him $200,000 to teach a single seminar, a hiring decision which led to vociferous protests on the university's campus and his eventual decision to teach the course for $1. He was also hired by the University of Southern California, and the giant New York private equity firm KKR, as chairman of the KKR Global Institute.
— Cihan Tekay (@ctekay) September 16, 2013