Holder must decide quickly on whether to indict

The Department of Justice and the FBI are still awaiting a decision from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on their recommendation of felony charges against former CIA director and retired four-star Gen. David H. Petraeus, who is accused of having provided his mistress with classified material. The wait must end soon.

Petraeus was named and confirmed as CIA chief in 2011, only to resign from the post 14 months later when it was revealed that he was involved in an extramarital affair with Paula D. Broadwell, an Army reserve major who was writing his biography. A subsequent FBI search of Broadwell’s computer showed that it contained highly classified material.

After his CIA resignation, the former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan joined Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co., a New York-based global investment firm in May 2013. The firm eventually made him a partner. There was once speculation that he could be a candidate for president or vice president.

More than two years after the classified documents case broke, the Justice Department should either charge Petraeus or drop the matter. Petraeus has said he did not provide classified information to Broadwell and has indicated that he is not interested in a plea deal that would head off a trial.

The Obama administration has eagerly pursued other cases involving alleged leaks of classified information. The Justice Department should not let Petraeus’ distinguished military career hold it back if the facts seem to merit prosecution.

Barack Obama needs to tell Holder either to indict the former CIA chief, as Justice and the FBI have recommended, or remove the cloud hanging over his head. So far, this case is not American justice at its best.

Editorial by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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