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Petraeus criminal charges pondered

The US j ustice department is considering bringing criminal charges against former CIA Director David Petraeus over the handling of classified information.

Investigators have presented senior justice department officials such as attorney general Eric Holder with information on the case to help inform a decision on charging the former four-star general, an official said.

Robert Barnett, a lawyer for Mr Petraeus, declined to comment, as did Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for the justice department.

Investigators have been looking into whether Mr Petraeus improperly shared classified materials with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, with whom he admitted having an affair when he resigned from his position in November 2012.

Agents found a substantial number of classified documents on Ms Broadwell's computer and at her home, a law enforcement official has previously said.

Both have publicly apologised for the relationship. They have said their romantic relationship began only after he retired from the military and started at the CIA.

The scandal marked an abrupt fall for Mr Petraeus, a man who led US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and was thought to be a potential candidate for president.

Since leaving the agency, he still makes relatively regular speaking appearances to discuss military combat and national security, including at a September 11 commemoration event in Denver.

It was not immediately clear when any decision would be made on whether to charge Mr Petraeus.

The New York Times reported prosecutors had recommended to Mr Holder that Mr Petraeus be charged and that the attorney general, who plans to leave his position as soon as his successor is confirmed, had been expected to make a decision by the end of last year.

Mr Holder and FBI director James Comey are frequently quizzed during Capitol Hill appearances about the status of the Petraeus investigation, with some members of Congress critical over the amount of time the it has taken.

Representative Jason Chaffetz, a member of the house judiciary committee, said he was frustrated by the pace of the investigation and wanted a decision made soon.

"We need clarity one direction or another - either charge and prosecute him or declare his innocence and let him get on with his life," he said.

"What's intolerable is to have an American hero in limbo for literally years."


From Belfast Telegraph