The defense secretary is looking to clamp down on misbehaving generals. Pentagon insiders say Petraeus could be the next general to face the consequences.
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.
“The secretary is considering going in a different direction” from the Army, a defense official told The Daily Beast, because he wants to be consistent in his treatment of senior officers who engage in misconduct and to send a message that even men of Petraeus’s fame and esteemed reputation are not immune to punishment.
Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook told The Daily Beast that Carter had requested the information ex-Army Secretary John McHugh had when he made his recommendation on the matter, before reaching a final decision. McHugh had recommended taking no action against Petraeus.
“The Department of the Army is still in the process of providing the secretary with information relevant to former Secretary McHugh’s recommendation,” Cook told The Daily Beast. “Once the secretary has an opportunity to consider this information, he will make his decision about next steps, if any, in this matter.”
Carter could also recommend other actions that don’t result in Petraeus losing his fourth star. Or the defense secretary could simply allow the Army’s previous recommendations to stand.
SOURCE: Nancy A. Youssef and Shane Harris
The Daily Beast