Former Joint Chiefs of Staff vice chairman General James E. Cartwright has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, a felony, during its investigation of a leak of classified information. I'm not expert enough to say anything with certainty, but Josh Rogen makes a strong case that Cartwright is being made an example of after Hillary Clinton and David Petraeus were let off entirely or lightly for similar crimes.

Under his plea deal, Cartwright could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Last year, Petraeus cut a deal with the Justice Department after admitting he had lied to the FBI and passed hundreds of highly classified documents to his biographer and mistress Paula Broadwell. He pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor of mishandling classified information and was sentenced to two years probation and a $100,000 fine.

Clinton was not charged at all for what FBI Director James B. Comey called "extremely careless" handling of "very sensitive, highly classified information." Comey said that although there was "evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information," the FBI's judgment was that no reasonable prosecutor would have filed charges against Clinton or her associates.

"There is a lack of proportion just based on the facts that one figure, Cartwright, is getting severely punished and others so far have escaped the process," said Steven Aftergood, director of the project on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. "He is being singled out for prosecution and public humiliation. It's an implicit rebuttal to those who argued that other senior officials such as Clinton or Petraeus got off scott free or got too light of a sentence."

It's also very strange to me that he, or anyone, would lie to the FBI instead of keeping silent. Maybe given recent history Cartwright figured that his position would protect him.

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