Former CIA director and retired Gen. David Petraeus remains a trusted adviser to the White House on its strategy in Iraq, despite being convicted of leaking classified information to his mistress and biographer, then lying to the FBI.
The National Security Council and Obama administration have been consulting with Petraeus on matters related to Iraq and ISIS, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed on Monday.
Earnest did not elaborate how long Petraeus has been advising the White House since his fall from grace, but Newsweek reports the retired four-star general has been in the role since last summer.
“Gen. Petraeus is somebody who served for a number of years in Iraq. He commanded a large number of American military personnel in that country,” Earnest said. “He is, I think, legitimately regarded as an expert, when it comes to the security situation in Iraq. So I think it makes a lot of sense for senior administration officials to, on occasion, consult for him advice.”
Once considered a possible presidential candidate, Petraeus plead guilty to one federal charge of removing and retaining classified information earlier this month as part of a plea deal approved by Attorney General Eric Holder.
According to court documents, Petraeus admitted removing several so-called black books — notebooks in which he kept classified and non-classified information from his tenure as the commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan — and giving them to his biographer, Paula Broadwell.
After he resigned from his CIA post in 2012, Petraeus told the government he had no classified materials in his possession. That claim turned out to be false as the FBI found the notebooks when they conducted a search of Petraeus’ house in 2013.
When he was questioned by the FBI at the time, he lied and claimed he never provided classified information to anyone not authorized to have it, according to court documents.
Earnest says he is unaware of any particular security precautions put in place by the White House when it consults with Petraeus, despite his legal problems and lack of CIA security clearance.
Petraeus is currently the chairman of a global institute for private equity firm KKR.