WASHINGTON » The Justice Department is weighing bringing criminal charges against former CIA Director David Petraeus over the handling of classified information, a U.S. official said Friday night. Investigators have presented senior-level Justice Department officials such as Attorney General Eric Holder with information on the case to help inform a decision on charging the former four-star general, the official said.
The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Robert Barnett, a lawyer for Petraeus, declined to comment Friday night, as did Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for the Justice Department.
Federal investigators have been looking into whether Petraeus improperly shared classified materials with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, with whom he admitted having an affair when he resigned from his position in November 2012. Agents found a substantial number of classified documents on Broadwell’s computer and at her home, a law enforcement official has previously said.
Both have publicly apologized for the relationship. They have said their romantic relationship began only after he retired from the military and started at the CIA.
The scandal marked an abrupt fall for Petraeus, a man who led U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and was thought to be a potential candidate for president. Since leaving the agency, he still makes relatively regular speaking appearances to discuss military combat and national security, including at a Sept. 11 commemoration event in Denver.
It was not immediately clear when any decision would be made on whether to charge Petraeus.
The New York Times reported Friday evening that prosecutors had recommended to Holder that Petraeus be charged and that the attorney general, who plans to leave his position as soon as his successor is confirmed, had been expected to make a decision by the end of last year.
Holder and FBI Director James Comey are frequently quizzed during Capitol Hill appearances about the status of the Petraeus investigation, with some members of Congress critical over the amount of time the investigation has taken.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told The Associated Press on Friday night that he was frustrated by the pace of the investigation and wanted a decision made soon.
"We need clarity one direction or another — either charge and prosecute him or declare his innocence and let him get on with his life," Chaffetz said. "What’s intolerable is to have an American hero in limbo for literally years."
During a meeting with reporters at FBI headquarters last month, Comey was asked if he could say why the investigation had taken so long. Comey said he could, but would not.