No one is ever prosecuted for revealing secrets that make the government look good. The book is only thrown at whistleblowers, like Edward Snowden, who expose government officials for betraying the public trust. Unless sex is involved! Then, as former CIA Director David Petraeus learned, puritanism trumps even the claims of patriotism, and passing highly classified material to your mistress biographer can become slightly awkward.
But it wasn’t awkward enough to land the retired four-star general in jail for even a day despite the array of secrets he revealed to Paula Broadwell, whose planned bio strove to lionize the military achievements of her bedmate. On the other hand, Army private Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning was handed a 35-year sentence for leaking a trove of classified documents, including clear-cut evidence that U.S. forces in Iraq killed innocent civilians and journalists just for fun.
Manning’s mother lode was classified at the level of “secret” as opposed to the “sensitive compartmented information” and “top secret” designations of the material Petraeus casually shared with Broadwell. In addition, the good general admitted to lying to the FBI in covering up his violations of the law, but that charge wasn’t even included in Petraeus’s slap-on-the-wrist plea bargain with the Obama Justice Department: two years probation on one misdemeanor charge!