Demotion for Petraeus an option as Pentagon reviews case

Story highlights

  • Defense Secretary Ashton Carter could demote Petraeus from a four-star general back to a three-star
  • The matter under review centers on Petraeus's acknowledgment in court proceedings he provided classified material to author Paula Broadwell

Washington (CNN)The Defense Department is reviewing documents regarding wrongdoing by retired Gen. David Petraeus to see if any action, including demotion, is warranted, several defense and military officials told CNN on Tuesday.

The Justice Department documentation is eventually expected to be reviewed by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, but the officials emphasize no decision has been made, and, in fact, Carter could decide to do nothing.
The matter was handed to Army Secretary John McHugh before he left office last year. At that time, McHugh reviewed the documents but decided against further action. Carter's options include taking action to demote Petraeus from a four-star general back to a three-star for purposes of his retirement salary. Such a move could cost him thousands of dollars.
    But top Carter aides are cautioning the secretary could decide not to take action.
    Former Gen. David Petraeus sentenced to probation
    david petraeus sentenced pkg 6_00005828

      JUST WATCHED

      Former Gen. David Petraeus sentenced to probation

    MUST WATCH

    Former Gen. David Petraeus sentenced to probation 02:15
    "The Department of the Army is still in the process of providing the secretary with information relevant to former‎ Secretary McHugh's recommendation. Once the secretary‎ has an opportunity to consider this information, he will make his decision about next steps, if any, in this matter," Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told CNN.
    A senior Army official told CNN, "The Army has no active investigation into Gen. Petraeus. Through a routine process of information-sharing across agencies, the Army has reviewed documents that the Department of Justice obtained in the course of its investigation. Prior to his stepping down, then-Secretary McHugh recommended that no further action was required."
    The McHugh ruling was first reported by The Washington Post last month, and then by The Daily Beast this week.
    The matter under review centers on Petraeus's acknowledgment in court proceedings that he provided classified material to author Paula Broadwell, with whom he then had a personal relationship. As a retired four-star general, Petraeus remains liable for any wrongdoing he committed while on active duty. But as a practical matter, generals have rarely been punished after retirement.