Sunday, December 17, 2017
Opinion

Ruth: In search of privacy, Jill Kelley should keep quiet

So desperate is socialite wanna-be Jill Kelley to protect and defend her privacy that she's willing to invade it at a moment's press notice to let all the world know just how much she wants to be left alone.

It was the Greta Garbo-lite of Bayshore Boulevard last year who found herself caught up in a whirlwind of media attention after she contacted the FBI when she received some intimidating anonymous (but not for long!) emails from someone telling her to stay away from former 20-star Gen. David Petraeus, who had assumed the leadership of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Kelley had gotten to know Petraeus during his stint at MacDill Air Force Base when the aspiring social butterfly hosted a number of swankified-squared soirees at her Bayshore Boulevard mansion.

We all know the rest of the story. The squirrelly emails were sent by writer Paula Broadwell, who was not only the general's biographer, but his paramour, too. You might say Broadwell left no sheet uncovered in her quest to learn EVERYTHING about the Lion of Iraq.

Unpleasantries quickly ensued. Petraeus was forced to resign from the CIA, presumably on the basis that if he couldn't keep an affair secret, how was he going to protect Four Your Eyes Only stuff like assassination plots. And before you could say Geraldo Rivera, the world's media descended on Kelley's house to see if there were any more salacious details to be found in Tampa's version of the Big Bang Theory.

Since last year Kelley has kvetched and whined and moaned as to how her life was turned into a living hell, her privacy destroyed and her every move chronicled by prying cameras. We all remember that continuous, Groundhog Day-like loop of the comely Kelley walking out of her house and into her car, which seemed to run more often than the Geico camel commercial.

Now Kelley has filed a federal lawsuit to find out who in government leaked her name and violated her privacy. Really now. Who cares?

If Kelley is so consumed with protecting her privacy, all she has to do is look out her window these days. She has more than enough privacy. The television crews are gone. And so has pretty much any interest in her. She was a news cycle eons ago.

And Kelley also needs to remind herself that those who live by the crab claw can also die by the crab claw. It was Kelley who attempted to inject herself into Tampa's social life. It was Kelley who courted the society pages. It was Kelley who sought out the attention to herself by so publicly blowing air kisses across MacDill's tarmac to woo the social favor of big shots with lettuce on their chests.

No one ever put a gun to her head and said: "Jill, I'm counting to three and you better have Gen. Halftrack's sloe gin fizz in his hand before I'm done."

Privacy cuts different ways. You can't consent to engaging in a very public social life because you want people to know who you are one minute and then claim you're actually Thomas Pynchon in a dress the next moment simply because some bad news happens to come your way.

It doesn't take Miss Marple to figure out the leaking of Kelley's name probably came either from the FBI and/or the CIA and/or the Pentagon, where Petraeus was not particularly universally beloved.

So now the oh so private Jill Kelley wants to be left alone?

This is easy. All Jill Kelley needs to do is shut up. And no one will notice. It will be as if she was never here.

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