Defense Secretary Ash Carter is reportedly considering retroactively demoting retired General David Petraeus, amid a crackdown on generals who engage in misconduct.
The Daily Beast reported Tuesday that the Pentagon is in the process of considering the move against Petraeus, who admitted giving classified information to his mistress and biographer before he retired.
The decision now rests with Carter, who is said to be mulling overruling a prior Army recommendation that the general should not be demoted.
"The secretary is considering going in a different direction,” a defense official told The Daily Beast, adding that Carter wants to send a message of consistency in his treatment of senior officers who engage in misconduct.
The official said Carter wants to send a message that even officers of Petraeus reputation are not immune to punishment. In November, Carter removed his senior military aide, Lt. Gen. Ron Lewis, for personal misconduct. The case is currently with the Pentagon's inspector general.
"The Department of the Army is still in the process of providing the Secretary with information relevant to former Secretary McHugh's recommendation,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told Fox News, referring to former Army Secretary John McHugh who recommended that Pertraeus not be demoted.
“Once the Secretary has an opportunity to consider this information, he will make his decision about next steps, if any, in this matter,” Cook said.
Petraeus was sentenced to two years of probation in April, and given a $100,000 fine for giving Paula Broadwell, with whom he was also having an affair, classified material while she was working on the book about him.
The scandal destroyed the four-star general’s reputation, who had led U.S. forces both in Afghanistan and Iraq.
With a Ph.D. and a reputation as a thoughtful strategist, Petraeus was brought in by President George W. Bush to command multinational forces in Iraq in 2007, a period when the war began to turn in favor of the U.S.
Petraeus' command coincided with the "surge" of American forces in Iraq and a plan to pay Sunni militias to fight Al Qaeda in Iraq. He resigned from his post as head of CIA in 2012.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.