Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is considering demoting retired Gen. David Petraeus for divulging classified information to his biographer and mistress while he was still an Army official, according to a report published Monday evening.

Multiple sources confirmed the top military leader is deciding whether to make an example out of Petraeus for betraying his commitment.

"The secretary is considering going in a different direction" than the Army, which said Petraeus' rank should not be changed, a defense official said.

Demoting the general from his four-star ranking general to a lieutenant general, despite his being retired, would still deal a significant blow to the official. Petraeus would not only lose his revered top ranking, but also have to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars to make up the annual difference in salaries between the two. His yearly pension would also dip from $220,000 to $170,000.

Petraeus retired from the Army in 2011 shortly before his relationship with writer Paula Broadwell was leaked in August 2012. He pleaded guilty last year to sharing notebooks of confidential information with the biographer while they were overseas.

Carter does not have a deadline to make a decision. If he chooses to make an example out of Petraeus, the former general would be able to appeal the decision to the secretary.