Please, Stop

I confess it is difficult to take reporters seriously when they write things that suggest they don’t understand the difference between what David Petraeus was indicted for and what Hillary Clinton, even by the most maximal interpretation, is accused of. What David Petraeus did was not mishandling classified information. No one ever suggested those were the facts of the case; it was lesser charge that grew out of a plea deal.

David Petraeus was in a position of the highest military authority and knowingly shared the highest levels of classified information: secret code words, the identities of informants, war strategy among other things with his mistress, who unquestionably had no right to have access to the information. Even marital infidelity in itself is a serious matter in the military. The breach of trust, vulnerability to blackmail and dereliction of duty are all huge and knowing transgressions. Petraeus could have been indicted for a number of individual crimes. He was pled down to a mishandling charge. Comparing this to insufficiently protecting information that appears not to have even been explicitly classified at the time is silly.

This is not really a matter of exonerating Clinton or anyone who worked for her – though based on the facts we know it is extremely difficult to imagine anyone thinking this was a criminal case outside the political pressures of electoral politics. But if you are thinking these are cases that are even in the same category, let alone comparable, or that the precedent in the former bears in any way on the latter, you’re either not being honest about what happened in the Petraeus case or not thinking seriously about the two cases. This definitely applies to sources with their own tendentious agendas who reporters should be critical of rather than amplifying, as though we had not been down this road before.

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