- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 4, 2016

Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus made his case Sunday for a position in the Trump Cabinet, playing up his diplomatic experience while admitting he made a “serious mistake” in mishandling classified information.

Mr. Petraeus, who’s on the short list for secretary of state, said he has apologized after pleading guilty to misdemeanor in 2012 for giving classified information to his biographer, with whom he also was having an affair.

“Five years ago, I made a serious mistake. I acknowledged it. I apologized for it. I paid a very heavy price for it and I’ve learned from it,” Gen. Petraeus told ABC’s “This Week.”

“And, again, they’ll have to factor that in, and also obviously 38½ years of otherwise fairly in some cases unique service to our country, in uniform and then at the CIA, and then some four years or so in the business community during which I’ve continued to travel the world nearly 40 countries in that time as well,” he said.

Mr. Petraeus, who also served as CIA director before resigning in 2012, received a vote of confidence Sunday from Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who called him “an American hero.”

“I first met him down range in Iraq when he was in command of the 101st Airborne,” Mr. Pence said. “I saw the way that he marshaled the resources and the plan to develop the surge and achieved an American success at the end of the last administration in Iraq. He’s a man of enormous talents. But look, he made mistakes. And he paid the consequences of those mistakes.”

Also under consideration for the secretary of state are Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

If selected, Mr. Petraeus would be one of three generals in top national-security positions in the Trump Cabinet.

In response, Mr. Petraeus said he also has extensive experience in diplomatic affairs, citing his role as commander in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“A general is not necessarily a general. I’m not trying to sound insufficiently humble here, but I would contend that I carried out about as much statesmanship working as the commander of the theater of war in Iraq, together with the great diplomat Ryan Crocker, in Afghanistan with a number of different coalition ambassadors,” he said.

Since leaving the CIA, he said he has traveled to more than 40 countries as part of his business and academic endeavors.

Asked if he voted for Mr. Trump, he replied, “I don’t vote.”

“So that’s an easy answer,” he said. “And I also did not support him nor did I oppose him, nor did I support or oppose any other candidate. I’ve truly tried to be apolitical, non-political.”

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