The Tampa FBI agent who helped kick off an investigation that led to the downfall of a CIA director said he sees parallels and contrasts between his situation and the events currently roiling Washington.
The parallels: Both involved key national security leaders who were suspected of being compromised by their actions.
The contrasts are in how the cases played out.
In the case of former CIA director David Petraeus, who was forced to resign over a sex scandal involving his biographer, the Obama White House was not informed about any potential for blackmail.
But in the case of former national security advisor Michael Flynn, then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates brought her concerns about Flynn being compromised by his associations with Russian officials to the attention of the Trump White House. Both Flynn and Yates were eventually fired by President Donald Trump.
Tampa FBI agent Fred Humphries called the difference in how the two cases were handled "the ultimate hypocrisy and double standard."
Humphries, who was involved in some of the nation's biggest investigations into jihadi activities, saw his stellar career take a dark turn in 2012.
That's when he passed along to FBI colleagues a complaint from family friend Jill Kelley about emails she considered threatening. That launched an investigation that led to the discovery of an affair between Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell. And that led to Petraeus eventually resigning and later pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of mishandling classified information, which he had given to Broadwell.
Frustrated by what he saw as the bureau delaying an investigation involving a CIA director who was potentially compromised, Humphries eventually spoke to a member of Congress about his concerns. No charges were ever brought against Broadwell. Last year, Humphries was disciplined with two weeks of unpaid leave for talking to Congress.
"You are telling me that acting Attorney General Sally Yates was comfortable going to the White House to inform them of an investigation of general Flynn, but yet the attorney general and FBI director at the time said they never would have discussed such a thing during the Petraeus scandal?" Humphries said in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times.
And while there has been an outcry over the unmasking of the identify of some people in the ongoing FBI probe into whether Russia influenced the 2016 election, Humphries pointed out there was no similar outrage after his and Kelley's name were leaked to the media.
"There are all these unmasking concerns now," said Humphries, who said he would not discuss Trump's firing this week of former FBI director James Comey. "But no one felt a reason to protect the identity of a victim -- Jill Kelley -- or of their agent."
Kelley and her husband Scott befriended Petraeus and his wife Holly when he was in Tampa as the commanding general of U.S. Central Command. That friendship led to the Kelleys being on the receiving end of threatening emails from Broadwell.
Jill Kelley agreed with Humphries that the contrast between the two situations shows a double standard.
"In 2016, the DOJ believed Flynn had potential for blackmail by Russia, and they went to the White House to provide information. But in 2012 the same DOJ had credible information that CIA Director Petraeus was compromised by ...Paula Broadwell...yet that potential for blackmail was never shared with the White House," Kelley said in a statement to the Times. "The American public has (understandably) lost faith in our FBI because politics continue to undermine justice."
Contact Howard Altman at [email protected] or (813) 225-3112. Follow @haltman.