A former U.S. military commander and CIA director, David Petraeus, was on Thursday handed two years sentence on probation after pleading guilty to mishandling classified information, news agency, Reuters, is reporting.
The retired four-star general admitted to giving the information to his mistress, who was writing his biography.
He was also ordered to pay a fine of $100,000.
Mr. Petraeus had pleaded guilty to a charge before the federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina, for misdemeanor after he was accused of unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials.
In his ruling, according to Reuters, the U.S. Magistrate Judge, David Keesler, raised the fine from the $40,000 recommended in a plea deal, as a punitive measure.
“This increased fine amount is necessary so that the combined sentence reflects the seriousness of the offense,” Mr. Keesler said during the hearing.
Although the judge noted that defence attorneys had submitted letters from heads of state and high-ranking U.S. military officials calling Mr. Petraeus one of the finest military leaders of his generation, Mr. Keesler said he had “committed a grave but very uncharacteristic error in judgment”.
Civil liberties and government transparency advocates had questioned the plea deal, saying the government’s lenient treatment of Mr. Petraeus suggested prosecutors maintain double standards.
Petraeus’ attorney, David Kendall, said in court it would have been unprecedented to incarcerate the former general for the charge he faced.
“This is not a case about the dissemination to the public of classified information,” Mr. Kendall said. “No classified information appeared in the biography. Not a single syllable.”
U.S. prosecutor, James Melendres, noted that Petraeus had been entrusted with the government’s highest secrets.
“The 62 year oil former CIA director, who served as the top U.S. commander in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, resigned from the intelligence agency in 2012 after it was revealed that he was having an affair with his biographer and Army Reserve officer, Paula Broadwell.
“I also want to take this opportunity to apologize to those closest to me and others for the pain that my actions have caused,” he Mr. Petraeus said without showing any emotion as he read from a prepared statement.
The defendant betrayed that trust,” he said in court.