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Obama aide: ‘Makes sense’ to consult Petraeus on ISIS

Former Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned in disgrace amid an affair where he admitted to giving his mistress classified material, is giving unofficial advice to the White House on its campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL), an official confirmed Monday.

“Since last summer, [National Security Council] officials have had a handful of conversations with General Petraeus regarding ISIL, much as we do with a wide variety of outside experts,” the White House official said.

“General Petraeus is not advising the White House in an official capacity.”

{mosads}Newsweek first reported on Saturday that Petraeus has been working with the National Security Council on the ISIS fight. During Monday’s briefing, press secretary Josh Earnest didn’t directly confirm or deny the report, but said that the administration wouldn’t have any security concerns about looping Petraeus in.

“General Petraeus is somebody who served for a number of years in Iraq, he commanded a large number of American military personnel in that country. Over that time, he developed strong relationships with some of his Iraqi counterparts and with some of Iraq’s political leaders,” Earnest said.

“He is, I think, legitimately regarded as an expert when it comes to the security situation on Iraq. So I think it makes sense for senior administration officials to on occasion consult him for advice.”

Petraeus resigned just after the 2012 presidential election after an FBI investigation revealed that he had an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. The multi-year investigation culminated in a plea deal, which Petraeus agreed to in early March. 

Justice Department documents say that Petraeus kept black notebooks that contained classified information from his time leading troops in Afghanistan, which he never turned over to a Defense Department historian. He later gave those books to Broadwell while she wrote the biography, despite confirming in a recorded conversation that they are “highly classified.”

Petraeus is expected to plea to one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, but is not expected to face jail time. He’ll be sentenced in April. 

—Jordan Fabian and David McCabe contributed. Last updated at 5:40 p.m.

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