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Lawyer on Petraeus: 'There are some national security concerns'

8:44 AM, Nov 15, 2012   |    comments
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AP File photo of Gen. David Petraeus. (Courtesy: AP Graphics)

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Under investigation for adultery and possibly violating national security, the skill of their lawyers may shape the future of retired Army General David Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell.

"I think there are some national security concerns, there will certainly be some potential criminal justice concerns," says Brian Lennon, a defense attorney at Warner, Norcross & Judd in Grand Rapids.

Before entering private practice, Lennon served as an officer in the Judge Advocate Division of the U.S. Marine Corps. He helped prosecute and defend Marines charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Lennon has been studying the case of the General and Broadwell, and says there are some major areas of concern.

"Ms. Broadwell, because she is a reservist , there could be some exposure there to adultery under Article 134 of the U.C.M.J.," he says. "But that is unlikely because those charges usually don't come alone when someone is court martialed."

Confidential or classified documents Broadwell acquired could also present potential problems.

"The question will be whether she gained those documents through General Petraeus, and that could potentially be a violation of the National Security Act," says Lennon. 

Lennon says perjury is also a concern for the General, if he gave false or misleading statements about the affair during recent national security background checks or failed to disclose the secret e-mail account he shared with  Broadwell.

"From a criminal defense standpoint, I would be concerned that there were no false or misleading statements given," Lennon says. 

Retired General Petraeus led U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. For the past year, he was the head of the CIA.  Petraeus knows America's secrets, but Lennon says the scandal could cut off his access to information.

"What could happen to him, and I would be most concerned about, is he could lose his security clearance. That could affect whatever post scandal employment he gets, whether it's with a defense contractor or some other government agency," Lennon says. 

The government revoked Broadwell's security clearance Wednesday.

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