November 14, 2012

Lawmakers probe generals scandal with national security in mind

President Barack Obama is expected to make his first comments on the widening scandal Wednesday, during a news conference at the White House.

Kimberly Dozier and Nancy Benac/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers are digging into the tangled tale of emails that exposed an extramarital affair ending David Petraeus' CIA career and led investigators to a questionable relationship between a Florida socialite and the general commanding the war in Afghanistan.

click image to enlarge

Jill Kelley leaves her home Tuesday, Nov 13, 2012 in Tampa, Fla. Kelley is identified as the woman who allegedly received harassing emails from Gen. David Petraeus' paramour, Paula Broadwell. She serves as an unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where the military's Central Command and Special Operations Command are located. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

AP

click image to enlarge

FILE POOL - In this July 9, 2011 file photo, USMC Gen. John Allen, left, and Army Gen. David Petraeus, top U.S. commander in Afghanistan and incoming CIA Director, greet former CIA Director and new U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, right, as he lands in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, July 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul J. Richards, Pool)

AP

Additional Photos Below

Related headlines

A cast of characters in the Petraeus sex scandal

WASHINGTON — One day CIA Director David Petraeus was sending out signals he'd like to stay on for President Barack Obama's second term. The next he was hurrying to the White House to offer his resignation and remorse over an extramarital affair. In rapid succession, other characters have emerged in North Carolina, Florida and Afghanistan with story lines that resemble the latest installment of "Real Housewives."

And the scandal's become so complicated you need a scorecard to keep track:

DAVID PETRAEUS: A highly decorated four-star Army general lauded for his leadership of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Petraeus, 60, moved into the civilian world to become CIA director in September 2011. He shocked official Washington on Friday by admitting an extramarital affair with his biographer and resigning his post.

PAULA BROADWELL: The other woman. Now a 40-year-old author and married mom of two young children, she met Petraeus while she was an Army reservist and graduate student at Harvard in 2006. She later embarked on a case study on his leadership of the Iraq War. After he took the helm in Afghanistan, Broadwell expanded her work into a biography, gaining unprecedented access to Petraeus and his commanders. It's called "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus."

Their affair began in November 2011, a couple of months after he became CIA director, according to retired Army Col. Steve Boylan, a friend of the Petraeus family. It ended last summer, Boylan said.

The relationship was exposed after Broadwell of Charlotte, N.C., sent emails to another woman, Jill Kelley, warning her to stay away from Petraeus, officials said.

JILL KELLEY: All threads in the story trace back to this Tampa, Fla., socialite.

A surgeon's wife and mother of three young girls, Kelley is a sort of self-appointed social ambassador for the nearby U.S. Central Command and other officers at MacDill Air Force Base. The Kelleys opened their bayside home to lavish parties where military brass mingled with Tampa's elite. In this role, she befriended Petraeus and his wife, Holly, when he took over Central Command in October 2008.

Kelley, 37, stayed in close contact with Petraeus after he left to take command of the Afghanistan war. They exchanged nearly daily emails in an account routinely monitored by his aides, according to two former staffers, who said those messages weren't romantic in tone.

In May 2012, Kelley started getting anonymous, harassing emails warning her away from Petraeus. She reported the email to the FBI.

The FBI traced the messages to Broadwell, uncovering her affair with Petraeus. The FBI notified Petraeus' boss, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who urged him to resign.

And the FBI found something more.

It unearthed "inappropriate communications" between Kelley and another top military officer, John Allen, according to Pentagon officials.

JOHN ALLEN: The four-star Marine general who followed in Petraeus' footsteps at Central Command and then as Afghanistan commander is now following him into choppy waters.

The Pentagon is investigating 20,000 pages of documents and emails involving Allen, who is married, and Kelley. Some of the communications were "flirtatious," according to a senior defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the case publicly.

Like Petraeus, Allen, 58, was part of the Tampa social circle; he moved up to acting commander when Petraeus left for Afghanistan. When Petraeus came home from Afghanistan, Allen moved into the top job there — his current post.

President Barack Obama has nominated Allen to take over U.S. European Command and lead all NATO forces in Europe. That's been put on hold. He denies any wrongdoing and remains in his job.

NATALIE KHAWAM: Kelley's twin sister also socialized with the two generals. Both Petraeus and Allen wrote letters lauding Khawam as a devoted mother to help her in a bitter child custody battle with her ex-husband. Earlier in that divorce case, Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz had criticized Khawam for a lack of honesty and "misrepresentations about virtually everything."

HOLLY PETRAEUS: Petraeus' wife of 38 years, mother of their two grown children, is in charge of service member assistance at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and is a well-known advocate for military families. Mrs. Petraeus is said to be devastated by her husband's infidelity. "Furious would be an understatement," family friend Boylan told ABC's "Good Morning America."

THE SHIRTLESS FBI AGENT: And then there's this unnamed character: The FBI agent to whom Kelley first took her complaint was a longtime friend. And he had once sent her shirtless photos of himself, according to a federal law enforcement official.

He passed the information along to others for investigation, and was subsequently told to steer clear of the case because his superiors worried that he had become obsessed with it, the official said.

But the agent passed along a tip about Petraeus' affair to Republican Rep. Dave Reichert of Washington state, who got word to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Oct. 27, nearly two weeks before the scandal became public.

Their main question: Was national security threatened?

The extramarital affair was between Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell, who U.S. officials say sent harassing, anonymous emails to a woman she apparently saw as a rival for Petraeus' affections. That woman, Jill Kelley, in turn traded thousands of sometimes flirtatious messages with Gen. John Allen, possible evidence of another inappropriate relationship.

The CIA's acting director, Michael Morell, started answering lawmakers' questions Tuesday on Capitol Hill, meeting with top Senate intelligence officials to explain the CIA's take on events that led to Petraeus' resignation last week after he acknowledged the affair. The lawmakers are especially concerned over reports that Broadwell had classified information on her laptop, though FBI investigators say they concluded there was no security breach.

President Barack Obama is expected to make his first comments on the widening scandal Wednesday, during a postelection news conference at the White House.

Obama had hoped to use the afternoon news conference, his first since his re-election, to build support for his economic proposals heading into negotiations with lawmakers on the so-called fiscal cliff. But the scandal could overshadow his economic agenda this week, derail plans for a smooth transition in his national security team and complicate war planning during a critical time in the Afghanistan war effort.

Allen has been allowed to stay in his job as commander of the Afghan war and provide a leading voice in White House discussions on how many troops will remain in Afghanistan — and for what purposes — after the U.S.-led combat operation ends in 2014. But Obama put on hold Allen's nomination to become the next commander of U.S. European Command as well as the NATO supreme allied commander in Europe, at the request of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, until Pentagon investigators are able to sift through the 20,000-plus pages of documents and emails that involve Allen and Kelley.

The FBI decided to turn over the Allen information to the military once the bureau recognized it contained no evidence of a federal crime, according to a federal law enforcement official who was not authorized to discuss the matter on the record and demanded anonymity. Adultery, however, is a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Allen, 58, worked to save his imperiled career. He told Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that he is innocent of misconduct, according to Col. David Lapan, Dempsey's spokesman.

At a news conference Wednesday in Perth, Australia, Panetta said, "No one should leap to any conclusions," and said he is fully confident in Allen's ability to continue to lead in Afghanistan. He added that putting a hold on Allen's European Command nomination was the "prudent" thing to do.

Known as a close friend of Petraeus, Kelley, 37, triggered the FBI investigation that led to the retired four-star general's downfall as CIA director when she complained about getting anonymous, harassing emails. They turned out to have been written by Petraeus' mistress, Broadwell, who apparently was jealous of the attention the general paid to Kelley.

In the course of looking into that matter, federal investigators came across what a Pentagon official called "inappropriate communications" between Allen and Kelley, both of them married.

(Continued on page 2)

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors


Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

FILE -- In an April 28, 2011 file photo Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Allen, speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington. The sex scandal that led to CIA Director David Petraeus' downfall widened Tuesday with word the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is under investigation for thousands of alleged "inappropriate communications" with another woman involved in the case. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak/file)

AP

click image to enlarge

Paula Broadwell holds a drink in the kitchen of her brother's house in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. Broadwell is CIA Director David Petraeus' biographer, with whom he had an affair that led to his abrupt resignation last Friday. It was Broadwell's threatening emails to Jill Kelley, a Florida woman who is a Petraeus family friend, that led to the FBI's discovery of communications between Broadwell and Petraeus indicating they were having an affair. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

AP

 


Further Discussion

Here at OnlineSentinel.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)