David Petraeus, the army ex-general who resigned in disgrace as head of the CIA, said Sunday that he’s paid for his mistakes and is ready to become Donald Trump’s chief diplomat.
Petraeus has interviewed with the president-elect and is on the short list to become the new president’s secretary of state.
“I have acknowledged for a number for years that five years ago I made a serious mistake, I acknowledged it, I apologized for it, I have paid a heavy price for it, and I have learned from it,” Petraeus said on ABC News.
The 64-year-old scholar-warrior, who masterminded the widely credited surge in Iraq from 2008-2010, has a depth of experience in world affairs unmatched by any of the other candidates known to be under consideration.
But in 2012 he resigned from the CIA after showing classified material to his mistress and biographer Paula Broadwell.
In 2015 he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified materials, and was put on two years’ probation and fined $100,000.
“I made a false statement at that time I did not think it was false,” Petraeus told ABC.
Speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press, Trump’s running mate Mike Pence confirmed that Petraeus is a finalist for the job, along with former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, ex-UN ambassador John Bolton, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and Republican senator Bob Corker.
Pence, who praised the general as “an American hero,” said that Petraeus “made mistakes and he paid for this mistakes.”
Trump “will factor the totality of general Petraeus’s career in making this decision,” Pence added.
Petraeus’s scandal, however, could pose a problem for getting Senate approval, and would expose Trump to accusations of hypocrisy after he savaged Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail for mishandling classified e-mails as secretary of state.
Petraeus disclosed “information that was far more highly classified than I ever did,” and yet never “spent a single day in jail,” said Edward Snowden, the former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who lives in exile in Russia, in an interview with Yahoo! News.
In 2013 Snowden leaked thousands of classified documents in 2013 revealing the vast US surveillance of private data put in place after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The 33-year-old is wanted in the United States on charges of espionage and theft of state secrets that could land him up to 30 years in jail.