Tags: Afghanistan | Edward Snowden | Exclusive Interviews | MidPoint | Syria | War on Terrorism | Vallely

Gen. Vallely: Petraeus 'Hung Out to Dry' in Selective Prosecution

By    |   Thursday, 05 March 2015 07:53 PM

While some observers detect a sweetheart plea deal for former CIA Director David Petraeus, retired U.S. Army Major Gen. Paul Vallely sees a different double standard at work: the fellow general "hung out to dry" by a Justice Department that routinely ignores Obama administration wrongdoing.

"When you look at [ATF Operation] Fast and Furious, you look at the IRS, you look at some of these other scandals in the administration, certainly, that violated U.S. security to some degree … no one has been taken to any kind of a trial for all of those deceptions," Vallely told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner and former CIA intelligence analyst Lisa Ruth on Newsmax TV Thursday.

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"And here you have Gen. Petraeus sort of hung out to dry," said Vallely. "So in a way there is a double standard."

Petraeus appears likely to avoid prison after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of leaking classified information to his biographer-turned-mistress, Paula Broadwell.

Former commander of coalition forces in Iraq and author of the heralded troop surge that helped turn the war effort around, retired Army Gen. Petraeus faces two years of probation and a fine of $40,000.

Reports have contrasted that expected sentence with the punishment given a former CIA officer, John Kiriakou, who pleaded guilty to a similar offense in 2012, when Petraeus was director of intelligence. Kiriakou served almost two years in a minimum-security prison for disclosing a covert operative's identity to a journalist.

Petraeus gave Broadwell access to eight notebooks he kept as commander of forces in Afghanistan that contained details of covert operations, war plans, high-level meetings, and secret codes.

But Vallely said there are still questions as to how sensitive the material really was, and he argued that Broadwell was not a national security threat, just a biographer with whom Petraeus happened to became romantically involved.

"She was not the enemy," said Vallely.

Vallely and Ruth both contrasted the Petraeus case with that of the former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, a self-described whistleblower who gave reams of classified information on warrantless surveillance practices by the National Security Agency to journalist Glenn Greenwald.

Snowden supporters say he deserves a deal comparable to Petraeus', and Snowden himself is complaining that the U.S. won't guarantee him a fair trial if he returns home from self-imposed exile in Russia to face justice.

"Our objective is always to have a fair trial that's unprejudiced," said Vallely. "So if he decides to come back and be faced with a trial, then he'll have to face the consequences of giving away classified information to the enemy."

He took issue with descriptions of Snowden as a whistleblower and a patriot.

"It does bother me because he had other avenues that he should have taken if he wanted to be a whistleblower within the NSA," said Vallely. "That's what you have to do. Or you resign, and then you go public. But you certainly don't take this information and go to Russia via Hong Kong and disclose the information. Pages and pages, thousands of items of information of a classified nature, have been passed to the enemy."

Vallely also discussed having small teams of U.S. troops fight alongside moderate Syrian rebels against the Islamic State, a possibility raised by the Joint Chiefs chairman, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, on Wednesday in congressional testimony.

Vallely said he had called for arming moderate rebels much earlier in Syria's civil war, but to no avail.

"I'm the only senior person that's been inside Syria in the last two years with the Free Syrian Army — the true Free Syrian Army," he said. "What I said then [was] … 'give them support, and you'll see a change of the situation in Syria.'"

"Nobody listened at that time," he said, adding that "as a result, you have the evolution of ISIS."

"So it's been a total mess and we just need new leadership if we're going to go in and neutralize and terminate the activities and the operations of ISIS in that whole Middle East region," said Vallely.

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While some observers detect a sweetheart plea deal for former CIA chief David Petraeus, retired Army Gen. Paul Vallely sees a different double standard at work: the fellow general "hung out to dry" by a Justice Department that routinely ignores administration wrongdoing.
Vallely, Petraeus, Snowden, double standard, selective, prosecution, Broadwell, patriot, enemy
Thursday, 05 March 2015 07:53 PM
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