The Corner

Why Was CIA Director Petraeus Required to Sign Separation Form If Secretary Clinton Was Not?

In my column on the plea agreement the Obama Justice Department allowed David Petreaus to enter after it was discovered that he mishandled classified information, I noted that he had been required to sign a separation agreement when he left the CIA. It is called a “Security Exit Form” and is obviously the CIA version of the State Department departure form described in Jim’s post (and linked in Shannen’s column) that Secretary Clinton should have signed upon leaving government service.

The prosecutors’ outline of the evidence against Petraeus includes the following (at pages 11-12, paragraph 27):

[O]n or about November 26, 2012, defendant DAVID HOWELL PETRAEUS executed … a Security Exit Form. The Security Exit Form included seven provisions regarding his continuing duty to protect classified information from disclosure. Among other things, by signing the Security Exit Form, DAVID HOWELL PETRAEUS adopted the following provision: “I give my assurance that there is no classified material in my possession, custody, or control at this time.”

Petraeus was also required to sign at least three other forms dealing with his obligations not to retain government records and to keep secret information secret.

The Secretary of State deals with mounds upon mounds of classified information – maybe not as much as the CIA director, but close, and equally at the most highly protected levels of classification.

Some questions arise:

In light of the care that was obviously taken to ensure that General Petraeus went through a thorough departure process and was made to sign all the necessary forms and acknowledgments, why was Secretary Clinton not put through a similar process? … Or was she?

If it was not routine for a departing Secretary of State to go through a thorough exit process, shouldn’t the State Department have been able to tell us that a week ago? Why did the Department feel the need to search through its records for several days? Because it knows that Mrs. Clinton should have signed the departure form?

What about Mrs. Clinton’s top advisers, Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, and Philippe Reines – some or all of whom reportedly had private email addresses on the Clinton email server system? Were they made to sign departure forms when they left the State Department?

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