If former CIA Director David Petraeus’ scandal took place while serving the US military, he could face heavy criminal charges. The former general claims it began after he left the military.
Petraeus began working as CIA director on Sept. 6, 2011, and claims his scandal began shortly thereafter and several months after retiring from the Army in August 2011.
If Petraeus had indeed carried out the scandal while serving the Army, he could face charges under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and even face a prison sentence.
The code states that it is “clearly unacceptable conduct, and it reflects adversely on the service record of the military member,” thereby bringing discredit to the armed forces. The extent of the discredit, and therefore the extent of the punishment, depends in part on the subject’s status, military rank, grade and position. As a four-star general, Petraeus could face severe punishments, including dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and one year imprisonment.
The military weighs the damage done to its reputation as an organization before making decisions on a punishment.
Although Petraeus insists his scandal began two months after he became the CIA director, others doubt that.
As Congress investigates the affair and demands more information, the timeline of events could become clarified and determine the fate of the now-retired general. Any evidence linking his scandal to his career in the Army could change the narrative of the scandal.