John Adams once wrote, “A government of laws, and not of men.” That was what America was supposed to be. And I don’t mind it being aspirational. But it isn’t even that. It is just false. Take for example, David Petraeus. He’s the high level military and political hack who once had Washington swooning. But then he had an affair with his hagiographer. And then we found out that he gave her highly classified notebooks. One thing that’s clear about the whole thing is that Petraeus is not a whistleblower. He gave her the notebooks for his own personal gain — both in his sexual relationship and in getting out a book that painted him as a modern day Achilles.
Given that the Obama administration has been vicious in going after leakers, one would think that Petraeus would be deep trouble. After all, this administration sentences John Kiriakou to 30 months in jail for leaking one name (never published) to a reporter in his effort to get out the story of our torture program. Similarly, Stephen Kim got 13 months for discussing a classified report with a journalist. So what did the government do to the disgraced Petreus? Ten years? Twenty?! Well, no. Actually, he won’t spend a second in jail. He won’t even have a felony on his record:
Petraeus agreed to pay a $40,000 fine, and prosecutors said they would recommend that he receive probation instead of prison time.
Peter Maass at The Intercept reported, Petraeus Plea Deal Reveals Two-Tier Justice System for Leaks. He highlighted the difference in the way that top officials get off light. In some cases, like Alberto Gonzales, they get “admonished but not charged.” How Scooter Libby ever managed to get sentenced to any time is beyond me. Of course, his sentence was commuted, so he didn’t actually go to prison. The main thing is that “we” — the right kind of people — don’t go to prison. We only put the prols in cages!
It’s also the case that Petraeus is rich. He’s worth at least $2 million. But that rather small sum for the right kind of people, will expand now. He is a partner in a private equity firm. The power elite understand how leaking secrets is just one of those things that happens. The reporter is smoking hot and she’s willing to jump your sagging bag of bones. Who could resist that? Certainly not a “patriot” like David Petraeus.
Welcome to modern America. If you are poor — and especially if you’re black — just accept the fact that whether you live and die is a matter of dumb luck. If you are rich — if you have the right kind of friends — it doesn’t much matter what you do. Now that I mention it, Edward Snowden is crazy to consider coming back to the United States. If they gave John Kiriakou 30 months, Snowden is looking at something like the 35 years they gave Chelsea Manning. Snowden is very clearly not the “right” kind of leaker. Isn’t that obvious? He didn’t leak those documents to get laid or to puff up his already unbelievably puffed up reputation. What’s more, Snowden isn’t partner in a private equity firm. He’s the “wrong” kind of leaker. He’s screwed.