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David Petraeus's Scandals

David Petraeus

He was considered one of the most brilliant military minds of his generation and later went on to head up the CIA. In some circles, he was even mentioned as a possible presidential contender in years ahead.

However, it all crashed and burned when he was caught up in an extramarital scandal in which he was found to have released state secrets to his lover. The scandal ruined the reputation and prospects of the retired four star Army General David Petraeus, who led US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It started innocently enough when he collaborated with author Paula Broadwell …

David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell

…on his autobiography. But then they started collaborating on some other things and he gave her eight binders of classified material he had improperly kept from this time as the top military commander in Afghanistan. A few days later he took those binders back home.

But the information in those black books was secret and included the names of covert operatives, the coalition war strategy, and notes about the General's discussions with President Barack Obama and the National Security Council.

In April 2013 those binders were retrieved by the FBI in a search of Petraeus' home in Arlington, Virginia. They were stored in an unlocked desk drawer in his ground floor study.

After resigning as head of the CIA November 2012, Petraeus signed a form falsely stating he had no classified material. Court documents also stated that he lied to FBI agents when he denied supplying the information to Broadwell. But he did admit to having an affair with Broadwell when he resigned as CIA director, and both of them later publicly apologized and said the romantic relationship began only after he retired from the military.

Petraeus only served a year as the head of the CIA.

David Petraeus, CIA

Most of his professional reputation was as a military man. He had a PhD and a reputation as a thoughtful strategist. Petraeus was brought in by President George W. Bush as commander of multinational forces in Iraq in 2007.

David Petraeus in Iraq

And that's when that war began to turn in favor of the U.S.

In late April 2015, Petraeus was sentenced to two years' probation and was fined $100,000 for giving his biographer/lover the classified material while she was working on his book. That sentence came two months after he pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material.

The case could have meant a sentence of up to a year in prison, but prosecutors recommended two years' probation and a $40,000 fine. Judge David Kessler increased to fine to reflect what he called the seriousness of the offense.

Not everyone thought the penalty was stiff enough. Some prosecutors and FBI officials thought Petraeus should have gotten prison time. However, his lawyer stressed it was not a case of releasing classified information but rather the wrongful removal of materials.

Petraeus apologized for "the pain my actions have caused."

Petraeus married Holly Knowlton, who was the daughter of the West Point Superintendent, two months after his 1974 graduation.

David Petraeus wedding photo

They have a daughter and son and though she was described as being furious over his affair…

David Petraeus and his wife

…they remain married.

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