Monday, February 19, 2018
Opinion

Ruth: Jill Kelley's dream came true amid David Petraeus scandal

It is certainly true none of us would be particularly thrilled to wake up one morning and find NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, NPR, PBS, TMZ, plus all the local news media along with Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, USA Today, (takeabreath), Popular Mechanics, Women's Wear Daily, the National Enquirer, Seventeen, the New York Post, Geraldo Rivera, MAD magazine and (takeanotherbreath) every fruitcake radio shock jock in the land — all encamped in front of your house.

Mike Wallace would have loved to be there, too, if he weren't dead.

So it's understandable why Tampa wannabe socialite Jill Kelley feels as if her privacy was more violated than Lindsay Lohan meets Justin Bieber and a Kardashian to be named later.

For a while there back in 2012, Kelley and her husband, Dr. Scott Kelley, found themselves and their Bayshore Boulevard manse at the epicenter of a swirling sex scandal that brought to light an affair between then-CIA Director David Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell.

Yes, it is never fun to see a video loop of you walking to your car replay about 1,000 times a day across the national media. The good news is at least the comely Kelley wasn't captured on film in a ratty bathrobe with her hair in curlers and a cigarette dangling out of her mouth as she walked out the front door.

Kelley found herself starring in her own personal episode of Entertainment Tonight when she filed a complaint with the FBI claiming she had received disquieting and potentially threatening emails from an anonymous writer telling her to stay away from Petraeus.

By now we know the author of the scarlet emails was Broadwell, who apparently viewed Kelley as some kind of potential rival for the CIA director's affections, even though zero evidence has ever emerged the socialite-in-waiting ever had any untoward relationship with Petraeus.

In recent days the faux socialite has filed a lawsuit accusing the FBI, the Department of Defense and the Justice Department of improperly invading her privacy by leaking her name to the media, which caused the public relations snit storm.

And therein is a bit of an issue for the would-be socialite. It is a bit problematic when you have called very public attention to yourself by attempting to wheedle your way into Tampa's social life and then complain about unwanted attention because of the role you attempted to carve out for yourself.

Before David Petraeus was unmasked for being a four-star philanderer, he had been a frequent guest of the Kelleys at their Bayshore redoubt in his role as the head of U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base.

In her climb up the social ladder, Kelley had become an ubiquitous presence on the base and the couple's lavish parties became a highly sought after invitation.

So did Jill Kelley honestly think she could contact law enforcement about a murky email involving a sitting CIA director, a former general and one of the most high-profile national security figures in government, which quickly led to his resignation, and no one would notice?

There are probably less, ahem, paparazzi-driven ways to go about this. But Jill Kelley came to Tampa yearning to become the hostess with the mostest, craving to be regarded as the Perle Mesta of the Big Guava. She wanted to be known throughout Tampa high society.

You can't deny her dream came true.

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