WASHINGTON — Jill Kelley, the Tampa woman embroiled in the scandal that has claimed the career of David Petraeus, visited the White House three times in the past month and half, adding an intriguing new dimension to her reach into the top levels of government.
The Tampa Bay Times learned Friday that Kelley and her twin sister, Natalie Khawam, their children and Dr. Scott Kelley went on a tour of the White House on Nov. 4, five days before Petraeus' resignation as CIA director became public.
On Oct. 24, the sisters had lunch in the White House Mess with a White House staffer. That followed a Sept. 28 breakfast between the same three people.
The White House declined to name the staffer, saying his identity would become public in a few months when visitor logs are posted. But an official said the staffer had gotten to know Mrs. Kelley through connections to MacDill Air Force Base.
The man worked as a civilian lawyer in Afghanistan and got to know military personnel, who invited him to MacDill, where he met Kelley. He now works as a lawyer in the White House.
In a statement, the White House matter of factly said, "Jill Kelley visited the White House complex three times, once for a tour with her family and children and twice for courtesy meals at the White House Mess with her sister and a White House staffer, who met the Kelley family while visiting MacDill Air Force Base."
Kelley is a central protagonist in the widening scandal. She received emails from Petraeus' lover, Paula Broadwell, and tipped off an FBI agent. In the course of that investigation the affair between Petraeus and Broadwell was discovered. Kelley has also been linked to Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, who is facing questions over emails the two exchanged.
The Tampa Bay Times first requested information about Kelley's White House visits on Tuesday.
Broadwell also visited the White House complex, meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in June 2009 with a staffer who deals with Afghanistan and Pakistan policy. In June 2011 she sat in on a briefing of Afghanistan-Pakistan policy, hours before President Barack Obama gave a prime-time speech on the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.