Wednesday's developments: Gen. David Petraeus' CIA sex scandal
The latest news on the alleged extramarital affair with biographer Paula Broadwell that led to Gen. David Petraeus' resignation as director of the CIA, the FBI investigation of her alleged email harassment of Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, and the Pentagon investigation of Kelley's alleged email correspondence with Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.
That odd letter in the New York Times' 'Ethicist' column
"My wife is having an affair with a government executive," the letter in Chuck Klosterman's June 13 column began. "His role is to manage a project whose progress is seen worldwide as a demonstration of American leadership. (This might seem hyperbolic, but it is not an exaggeration.) … I strongly feel that exposing the affair will create a major distraction that would adversely impact the success of an important effort. My issue: Should I acknowledge this affair and finally force closure?"
Grantland.com — Could that have been Broadwell's husband? "It's a compelling letter. Who it was specifically about wasn't something I even considered at the time," Klosterman writes. " The generic details in the letter fit the circumstances of the affair, and — because the writer is so adamant about the government executive's import — it does seem like it could feasibly apply to a man of Petraeus's stature. … The generic details in the letter fit the circumstances of the affair, and — because the writer is so adamant about the government executive's import — it does seem like it could feasibly apply to a man of Petraeus's stature. … I just had a gut feeling that these events were not connected (a few of the coincidences were remarkable, but the language in the letter seemed slightly off-center). … But you know what I learned from this? Nothing. I learned nothing. It's just something that happened (and it just so happens that it happened to me). Life is crazy."
Paula Broadwell and possible security breaches
Classified information was found on Gen. David Petraeus' mistress' computer. She had her own security clearance as a reserve officer in military intelligence, but that clearance doesn't apply here because she wasn't on active duty. How significant was that information, and what's the risk to national security?
CNN — Broadwell's security clearance revoked: As tweeted by CNN National Desk assignment editor Stephanie Gallman.
An on-air report said an unnamed military source would confirm only that action had been taken appropriate to an ongoing investigation.
Associated Press — No evidence of security breach so far, Obama says, but he's withholding judgment: "President Barack Obama said Wednesday he's withholding judgment about the handling of a federal investigation that cost the CIA director his job, but he's seen no evidence "at this point" that national security was damaged by the widening sex scandal. … Obama, for his part, said he had 'no evidence at this point from what I've seen that classified information was disclosed that in any way would have had a negative impact on our national security.'"
Reuters — Petraeus' mistress had 'substantial' classified data on her computer, sources say: "A computer used by Paula Broadwell, the woman whose affair with CIA director General David Petraeus led to his resignation, contained substantial classified information that should have been stored under more secure conditions, law enforcement and national security officials said on Wednesday. The contents of the classified material and how Broadwell acquired it remain under investigation, said the officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to comment publicly."
McClatchy Newspapers — Did Broadwell send emails to Allen, too? "Though somewhat hazy, the events leading up to [Petraeus' resignation] appear to be that Broadwell allegedly contacted Allen to warn him about Kelley. The general then allegedly forwarded those emails to Kelley, triggering the FBI’s involvement."
Jill Kelley; her correspondence with Gen. John Allen; that shirtless FBI agent
An investigation — by an FBI agent who would later send her a photo in which he appeared shirtless — of emails Kelley received from Gen. David Petraeus' mistress Paula Broadwell uncovered a trove of emails between Kelley and Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. At first, it was noteworthy for its size — 20,000 or so emails. Then an unnamed defense official described some of the emails as "flirtatious." Today, unnamed sources were characterizing them as something more.
The Daily Beast — Kelley and the FBI agent she contacted about Broadwell's emails met at a 'citizen academy': "There is still no telling how many fates were about to turn when an FBI agent handed 37-year-old Jill Kelley his card after speaking at one of the 'civilian academies' the bureau runs as part of its public-relations effort. [Kelley] later dialed the number on the card to tell the agent she had been receiving a series of unnerving emails. The chain of events that followed would see the agent shamed for supposedly sending Kelley a shirtless picture of himself, although according to one knowledgeable law-enforcement source, it actually was a photo of himself with what appears to be a prominent politician and some other guys at a casual outing where they had their shirts undone."
Fox News — Gen. Allen's emails to friend of Petraeus family were like 'phone sex,' sources say: "One senior defense official initially described the nature of the communications between Allen and Kelley as 'flirtatious.' However, two U.S. officials later told Fox News that Allen's contact with Kelley was more than just general flirting. One official described some of the emails as sexually explicit and the 'equivalent of phone sex over email.' Another official said [Defense Secretary Leon] Panetta would not have referred this matter to an internal investigator without knowing the devastating impact this would have on war efforts and on Allen and his family."
McClatchy Newspapers — Well, maybe they weren't that bad: "… The FBI investigation uncovered a trove of communication between the two that has not yet been fully discussed or analyzed, according to an official at the Pentagon, who asked to remain anonymous to be able to talk about the investigation. Still, the official cautioned that media reports that some of the messages verged on 'an email version of phone sex' probably went too far."
An assortment of media outlets were reporting this morning on Kelley's mention to Tampa police that she might be entitled to some sort of special protection ("inviolability" seemed to be the word she used) from trespassers because of her role as an honorary consul. (Listen to calls to police from the Kelleys' home.) The consensus was that there's no such thing:
CNN — South Korea may review Jill Kelley's honorary consul title: "Kelley, it turns out, is an 'honorary consul' for the South Korean government, according to the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The official South Korean news agency Yonhap reports that Kelley had 'good connections and network and a willingness to develop Korea-U.S. relations, including the free trade agreement between the two nations.' … The honorary post, however, has no official responsibilities, in spite of Kelley's attempts to invoke 'inviolability.' Yonhap cites a South Korean official as saying that 'she will be relieved from the symbolic post if she is found to be problematic.' … Cho Tae-yong, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, tells CNN: 'Nothing is decided. We are currently observing the situation closely.'"
Washington Post — Sorry, Jill Kelley, you probably don't have 'diplomatic inviolability': "When U.S. Central Command named Kelley an 'honorary ambassador' last year to thank her for her time, it appears to have been wholly symbolic, carrying no official responsibilities or rights. But Kelley has been known to drop the 'honorary' from that title, and appeared to represent herself as a formal diplomatic officer in a recent 911 call to Tampa police. … Kelley almost certainly does not have diplomatic 'inviolability' or right to 'protection,' and not just for the most obvious reason that she is not an actual diplomat. The immunity only applies to a country's official diplomatic representatives abroad, and, alas, Tampa is still not considered a foreign country."
N.Y. Daily News — Jill Kelley would never qualify for for 'diplomatic protection,' officer says: "Kelley, described as a socialite in the fairly small Tampa social scene, apparently has a habit of invoking titles for herself that are neither official nor accurate. In the 911 call she described herself as an 'honorary consul general,' which even when dispatched abroad in an official capacity is not a government employee. … Kelley, a civilian, has also described herself as a 'social liaison' to the military — a made-up title that means little more than unpaid volunteer, military officials told The Washington Post. … Despite her links to powerful military officials, experts told WTVT-TV she would never qualify for diplomatic protection. 'Diplomatic immunity, diplomatic protection, is only given to American personnel. Diplomatic personnel in foreign countries,' Col. E.J. Otero explained."
Jill Kelley's work at MacDill AFB and unusual relationship with top officers there
Kelley threw herself into Tampa's social scene when she and her husband moved to the area from the Northeast, focusing her efforts on helping the military. "Before long," we reported Monday, "the Kelley mansion became the place to be seen for coalition officers. Gen. David Petraeus, leader of U.S. Central Command at MacDill, marked his first celebration of the Gasparilla pirate parade on the Kelleys' lawn."
Sky News — Ex-CIA boss Petraeus to testify Thursday in private: "Former CIA Director David Petraeus has agreed to testify before a Senate Intelligence Committee tasked with investigating the deadly attack on the US Consulate in Libya. General Petraeus, who vacated his post as the nation's top spy last week after admitting he had an extramarital affair with his biographer, will testify at a session held in private on Thursday."
The Daily Beast — Jill Kelley went skydiving with Special Forces paratroopers — once: "… There is every possibility that the emails are in fact simply a reflection of Kelley's energetic effort to ingratiate herself with the top brass at MacDill Air Force Base. Allen may not have been Kelley's lover any more than was the Special Forces admiral who is said by one former intelligence officer to have finally given into her pestering and allowed her to jump with the nation's most elite parachute commandos. 'Do not ever bring that lady back here again,' the team leader is supposed to have said afterward, according to the former intelligence officer."
ABC News — Jill Kelley loses VIP privileges at military base: "Jill Kelley, the Tampa socialite at the center of the Petraeus scandal, has lost the privilege of visiting MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa without an escort. … A Defense official confirms to ABC News that Kelley participated in a base program known as the 'Friends of MacDill' where she was placed on a master list that allowed her to clear security when entering the base."
Will former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus still testify to Congress on the Benghazi consulate attacks?
It looks like the disclosure of Gen. David Petraeus' extramarital affair and his subsequent resignation as director of the Central Intelligence Agency does not mean he'll be spared testifying before congressional committees investigating the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which ambassador Chris Stevens was killed — although the time frame is murky:
Reuters — Petraeus agrees to testify to Congress on Benghazi attack: Feinstein aide: "Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein said Petraeus was willing to testify about the September 11 attack in Benghazi, but the timing had not yet been decided, a spokesman for the California Democrat said."