Petraeus on His Mishandling of Classified Information

Posted December 06, 2016

In his interview, Snowden said there is a "two -tier" justice system in the USA that favors people like Petraeus with government connections or personal wealth.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President-elect Donald Trump is expanding his pool of candidates for secretary of state, leaving unclear whether former CIA Director David Petraeus' guilty plea for leaking classified information disqualifies him to serve as the nation's top diplomat.

United States whistleblower Edward Snowden is seen live from Moscow at the Norwegian PEN event "Waiting for Snowden" in Oslo on November 18, 2016.

Petraeus pleaded guilty in 2015 to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified information after disclosing state secrets to his biographer Paula Broadwell, with whom he was having an affair.

Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor who leaked details on the USA government's collection of intelligence on Americans, said that he shared information "with the public for their benefit", whereas Mr Petraeus shared information with "his biographer and lover for personal benefit".

Snowden contrasted the fallout following the information he shared with journalists compared to Gen. David Petraeus' leak of classified information to a biographer.

The whistle-blower has said that U.S. government surveillance methods far surpass those of an "Orwellian" state, referring to George Orwell's classic novel "1984", which describes a society where personal privacy is continuously invaded by spy agencies. The impact on Snowden's life has been obvious: He now lives in a self-imposed exile from his home country, fearing that he'll be subject to severe prosecution (under the Espionage Act of 1917) in the American justice system.

Gen. Petraeus, reportedly a secretary of state candidate under President-elect Donald Trump, apologized for his "mistake" on ABC's "This Week". Addressing concerns that the administration would be heavily influenced by former military officials, Petraeus said that much of his job as a senior general was diplomatic.

The government considered bringing felony charges against Petraeus related to alleged fabrications to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a violation of a section of the Espionage Act, but ultimately never filed the charges.

Snowden said he thinks it is possible that Russians hacked the DNC and the email accounts of Hillary Clinton's campaign staffers, but that he doesn't know for sure.

Snowden's full interview will be available for viewing Monday night. Snowden then highlighted Clapper's false congressional testimony. Snowden fled to Hong Kong, where he met up with award-winning reporter Glenn Greenwald, who at the time worked for The Guardian, as well as filmmaker Laura Poitras and Scottish journalist Ewan MacAskill to pass along his findings. If nominated for secretary of state by Trump and confirmed by the Senate, Petraeus would be responsible for carrying out Trump's foreign policy priorities, which could include some of his signature campaign promises, such as getting Mexico to pay for a wall on the southern border of the United States. Snowden reminds us that generally, "giving false testimony to Congress under oath, as he did, is a felony". "But the idea here is that most people who are involved in government or intelligence community are involved in some sort of case where the government goes 'This person was acting in good faith. It's typically punished by three to five years in prison".

"Every action Snowden has done, and every statement he has ever made, has to be looked at through a skeptical lens", Gourley said. "It wasn't so many years ago that people were saying, 'This guy's a Russian spy, '" Snowden noted.