Daily Beast: Pentagon May Demote David Petraeus

The Pentagon is considering retroactively demoting retired Gen. David Petraeus after he admitted to giving classified information to his biographer and mistress while he was still in uniform, three people with knowledge of the matter told The Daily Beast.

The decision now rests with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, who is said to be willing to consider overruling an earlier recommendation by the Army that Petraeus not have his rank reduced. Such a demotion could cost the storied general hundreds of thousands of dollars—and deal an additional blow to his once-pristine reputation.

From: Exclusive: Pentagon May Demote David Petraeus – The Daily Beast

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64 thoughts on “Daily Beast: Pentagon May Demote David Petraeus

      • Just to clarify, the legitimacy I speak of is moral/ethical, not legal. Legally, they can bust him back down to 2nd Lt even after he retires. But if they do it, they risk a morale backlash. Even if service members & vets agree he screwed up big time, retirement rank is kinda sacred.

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        • “Morale backlash, really? When did the Obama Admin care about morale? When they traded Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for enemy commanders and then the gov’t recommended that he not be punished? Or maybe when SEC Def ignored the Marine Corps studies about women in combat units and ordered all the services to open all jobs to women?

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          • Cite your fucking sources from the Army War College please, on the loss of morale, if you dare.

            I can cite sources on the increase in morale after soldiers were given peacekeeping duties in Kosovo (soldiers like /anything/ better than polishing boots).

            But I can’t be bothered to show you that the Administration cares about morale, when we have institutes of higher learning that will make that point for me.

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                  • Morale is a very interconnected thing. If morale is suffering because of A, B, & C (which, for the sake of argument, are interrelated), then even though Z is not in any significant way connected to A, B, & C, it can still make the problem worse.

                    People get that Flag Rank officers exist in a highly political environment, so when an officer is allowed to retire rather than face the full weight of the military legal system, it is seen as a political decision*. If the civilian political players to then try to go back on that decision, the risk damaging morale by damaging the trust the members of the service have in them that such decisions are final.

                    *Service members get that many higher level decisions are very political, but knowing that does not mean such things are well received by officers or enlisted. The more you play political games with the military, especially games that fall outside the theater of war, the more it erodes morale.

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                • Kim:

                  I work as a civilian at an Army post and I regularly ask the active duty soldiers that come into my office what they think about current events. Plus I’m in a MI Army Reserve unit and when the officers get together privately, we discuss such things.

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                    • As I said to Kim, morale is a tangled issue. If the military is suffering a morale problem, it is not in the interest of the military for civilians to play political games with respected military leaders.

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                      • Morale is indeed a tricky issue. It is certainly to complex to just do the notme dance of blaming the admin he doesn’t like for all the problems. Different spanks for different ranks is old news. In a better world guys like Petraus would expect a harsher punishment then lower ranks instead of the other way.

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                              • Fine on the marines and women; I can see that.

                                Trading for Bergdahl: we don’t’ leave our guys behind. If he was a dipstick or not, we get our guys back. That is a good thing and i’ve heard that from peeps in the military. We dont’ leave guys behind becuase he may have f’d up. Nope not buying that.

                                Oy. We have an ISIS strategy. Saying we don’t is silly. It may not be the strategy you want be we have one. We are avoiding a major use of our forces by having the local forces do most of the fighting with us providing air power, intell and logistical support. Local forces have a major advantage in trying to get the other locals to support them and we dont’ seem like the invader again. That is a strategy; a slow grinding strategy, not romantic but it avoids us having our blood spilled and even more entanglement in the area. You may not like it, but i haven’t’ heard what you want and i dont’ think putting thousands of our guys back there is anything but dumb. How many of your friends want to go back to Iraq for a few years. I doubt many do.

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                    • I did. Morale is currently low b/c the admin basically gave up on Iraq (we don’t have a strategy ) and now Soldiers are watching ISIS take over and expand. Meanwhile some intel folks are quietly being sent over there to ramp up out intel capabilities but we have to keep that relatively quiet b/c we don’t have any troops over there you see. Not to mention that the Army is downsizing and many are facing being separated for the most trivial of reasons as the Army rushes ahead and is looking for any reason to cut folks. Plus for folks in the MI world, the story about the admin changing intel reports to down play ISIS and Hillary’s email issues haven’t helped, either.

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                      • So you are just forgetting the history of Bush negoiating us our of Iraq because it was deeply unpopular. And the Iraqis didn’t want us there and the tangled sectarian fighting and all sorts of other problems. Gotcha.

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          • How about when they launched an incredibly successful initiative to reduce homelessness among vets. Because they did that and its worked. Homelessness among vets is way way down and almost non-existent in some places.

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    • First of all, and you know this, retirement is merely a change in status. Once you accept a regular commission in the US military, you’re in for life. (Even if as a practical matter, they don’t care if you’re on the IRR or retired lists)

      Second, though most importantly, the crimes he is guilty of only came to light *after* he got put on the retired list, which was when he accepted the post of CIA jefe. So it was not like it was an institutional decision to just let him retire quietly instead of court martial or administrative sanction.

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      • A) I am retired, so yes, I know.

        B) I forgot about the time line there, so thanks for the reminder. Still, going after his retirement is dirty pool. I know there is nothing legally wrong with it, but absent a very solid argument as to why it’s a just action to take (e.g. evidence that his affair and carelessness put servicemen in danger because Broadwell published them on her blog or something), it won’t sit well with a lot of members & vets. But, they let the man go with a misdemeanor plea, so this smells of double jeopardy, even if legally it isn’t.

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          • Or sure, I know lots of guys who thought he got off too easy, but that doesn’t mean you go back for round 2 three years later.

            If a reduction in rank was appropriate, then it should have been done three years ago when he made the plea deal. Instead, this is being done later, in the final year of the presidency? Why? Carter wasn’t SecDef at the time.

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  1. If they demote him, I hope he appeals it to The Army Board for Correction of Military Records (ABCMR) which is the highest level of administrative review within the Department of the Army. Its mission to correct errors in or remove injustices from Army military records.

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        • Except that there is a clear distinction between using an email server that happens not to have been cleared by security and actively sharing top secret classified information with someone who’s obviously not authorized to view it.

          It’s sort of the distinction between, say, forgetting to renew the state inspection on your vehicle, and committing a hit-and-run.

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            • I’m not a Hilary supporter. I do not consider her fit to be Commander in Chief, for this and other reasons. I will not be voting for her, in part because I do not approve of the way she’s handled this email crisis.

              What she did could at worst be considered poor judgement due to ignorance or irresponsibility.

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              • What she did could at worst be considered poor judgement due to ignorance or irresponsibility.

                I would have phrased it “at least… poor judgement”. Especially from someone who thinks they’re going to run for President some day. There are rules for reasons. Compliance needs to start at the top. The basic justification for her behavior that I’ve read — and it’s the same reason given by Condi Rice and Colin Powell for similar behavior — is that using separate e-mail systems for their personal and SoS mail was “inconvenient”. That’s not good enough.

                Whether it’s an actual violation of criminal statute will depend on what the exact requirements were, what classification was assigned to the documents, and whether Secretary Clinton had the authority to change the classification. All qualified by how those things stood at that point in the past. To be decided in court, under our adversarial system, where many of the claims that are being put forth today may not stand up. I’ll go out on a limb and say that many/most of the claims won’t stand up.

                I admit that I’ve always been (perhaps) overly sensitive about such things:

                SVP: Mike, we need to do this technology demonstration at that location for the stock analysts. Can you make that work?

                MEC: If I break several of the “firing offense” corporate IT security rules, yes.

                SVP: Do it.

                MEC: Put it in writing, please.

                The signed letter authorizing me to violate security rules went into my locked file drawer. The demo worked. Thirty minutes after the stock analysts left it no longer worked, because I closed the holes I’d opened as quickly as possible.

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                • The basic justification for her behavior that I’ve read — and it’s the same reason given by Condi Rice and Colin Powell for similar behavior — is that using separate e-mail systems for their personal and SoS mail was “inconvenient”.

                  Have you ever worked a job where time was a major factor and efficiency was paramount and been told by some IT asshat that there’s a contract with Company X, so you need to use their non-functional software instead of using gmail/linux/some other functioning platform to communicate/access documents required for decision-making?

                  I encounter this all the time when only a person’s life is at stake, so I could sympathize if it were national security.

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          • Arguably, as head of the CIA, Petraeus was in the best position to determine if the information he was sharing with Broadwell was truly sensitive.

            Either the protocols surrounding classified material mean something or they don’t.*

            *I’d argue that we’ve extended the designation of classified too broadly, such that it’s value is so diluted that those in the know are beginning to act like it.

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            • I dunno. It appears the military works a little like a hospital.
              You have your “Secret” Clearance (which is a big catchall for “don’t spread this around”)

              You have your “Top Secret” Clearance (which means you’re discussing something that could harm more than a few people if it got out).

              And then you have the clearances above those (whose names I don’t know, obviously), which are probably a bit more … individualized or specialized.

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              • The term is “compartmentalized”, i.e. if you don’t need to know X, you don’t get to know X.

                If the information in the notebooks was compartmentalized, and still relevant, then that’s a big deal. If it was just something more general, then the issue was not the information itself, but the violation of the protocol.

                Which is still bad, and which is what people are harping on HRC about. Either way, I agree with Mr. Cain, this’ll go to court, and get looked at all serious like, and someone will figure out if an actual violation of protocol was committed.

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  2. Christopher Carr: “The basic justification for her behavior that I’ve read — and it’s the same reason given by Condi Rice and Colin Powell for similar behavior — is that using separate e-mail systems for their personal and SoS mail was “inconvenient”.

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