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Jill Kelley book reveals emails that helped bring down Petraeus

On Nov. 10, 2012, the day before Jill Kelley became a household name as the woman who touched off an investigation that ended the CIA director’s career, she was at home on Bayshore Boulevard, bracing for the storm to come.

David Petraeus “was busy with personal damage control, but Saturday, I saw that I would have to worry about it too,” Kelley writes in her new tell-all book about the scandal, “Collateral Damage: Petraeus/Power/Politics and the Abuse of Privacy. “David and I emailed throughout the day as I became increasingly resigned to the fact that I might be sucked into this messed-up story.”

Kelley’s self-published book, written with Lura Lee, a Tampa strategy and communications expert, went on sale Monday.

Its 258 pages are largely a mash-up of Kelley’s personal recollections about conversations, re-creations of email and text messages between her and the key players in the “messed-up story,” and citations from news reports about the scandal.

In a statement to the Tribune, Kelley said, “I wrote my book to warn of the collateral damage that can be caused by the abuses and breaches to every American’s privacy, especially as our government continues to collect the emails, text messages and social media of millions of law abiding American citizens.”

Kelley said part of the proceeds of the book will be donated to the Wounded Vets Association, a Trinity-based charity she has hosted in her home during the annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival.

Kelley declined to say how much will go to the association.

Key figures in the book declined to comment on it when contacted by the Tribune. They include Paula Broadwell, the Army reserve major and Petraeus biographer whose affair with Petraeus helped lead to his downfall. Also declining comment were FBI assistant director Sean Joyce, former FBI agent Adam Malone, FBI agent Fred Humphries and former associate White House counsel Michael Gottlieb.

The book opens Nov. 9, 2012, when Kelley learns while at lunch that Petraeus had resigned from the CIA. That set off an email exchange in which Petraeus explained his resignation.

“I screwed up terribly, Jill, and needed to try to do the honorable thing after having done the dishonorable thing,” Petraeus said in email, according to the book. “Thx for your thoughts and prayers. We’ll get through this, but it will be hard.”

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Kelley writes that she “demanded” Petraeus call her, even as he was besieged by calls and emails from “famous leaders, reporters and former colleagues from around the world.”

By now, the story of the scandal and its aftermath is well-known. The Petraeus-Broadwell affair was revealed through an FBI investigation into emails Broadwell sent to Kelley’s husband Scott, an oncological surgeon, and to Marine Gen. John Allen. The Kelleys saw the emails as threatening.

Broadwell was cleared of wrongdoing for sending them, but they helped lead to Petraeus’ admission that he lied to the FBI and CIA about giving classified information to Broadwell.

Last April, he was ordered by a federal judge to pay $100,000 in fines and serve two years’ probation for unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, a misdemeanor.

The book is Kelley’s account of how she and her husband were introduced to the military community at MacDill Air Force Base by then-Marine Lt. Gen. Michael DeLong, deputy commander of U.S. Central Command under Gen. Tommy Franks. Kelley says she became fast friends with Petraeus when he was commander at Centcom.

The book chronicles how the Kelleys became known to military leaders and foreign dignitaries visiting Tampa as party and event hosts, enabling them to befriend Petraeus and other top military leaders. She also describes her work with the Centcom international coalition in Tampa and ultimately, the emails that began coming in, first to Gen. Allen and then to her husband, from the senders “kelleypatrol” and “Tampa Angel.”

Writing that she was “unwittingly sucked into an alternative universe,” Kelley says her life changed May 11, 2012, with an email from Allen, who at the time was in Afghanistan as commander of U.S. and NATO forces there.

“Jill ... I received a strange note from someone with an email address called: kelleypatrol,” Allen is quoted as saying in an email to her. “The message said something like: ‘Be careful at dinner, she’ll play with you under the table as she has other generals.’”

The email, Allen wrote, was unsigned.

Kelley writes that it was a reference to a dinner she and her husband had with Petraeus and his wife Holly a month before at Bourbon Steak, a restaurant in the Four Seasons hotel in Washington’s Georgetown.

It was one of many “double dates” Kelley and her husband had with the Petraeuses. Kelley writes that she and Petraeus, being competitive athletically, “tested each other’s muscles to see who had the hardest quadriceps, while our spouses looked on in amusement, as they understood our athletic competitiveness. Perhaps a bit tipsy, David got a little enthusiastic comparing our quads.”

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By June 3, 2012, emails from Tampa Angel began to appear in Scott Kelley’s inbox, according to the book. One is a lengthy warning to Scott Kelley about his wife’s behavior:

“As her husband, you might want to examine your wife’s behavior and see if you can rein her in before we publicly share the pictures of her with her hand sliding between the legs of a senior serving official (while at a DC restaurant). (You might actually question why she travels to DC so often, and ensure she is supervised when alone with senior government including SOCOM and CENTCOM officials.) Furthermore, you might want to suggest she stops sending inappropriately suggestive emails to senior military and public officials and Ambassadors with whom she has contact. You might want to read her sent email file to verify her behavior. (We would caution against sending such emails to official government email accounts.)

“Her continued inappropriate and suggestive behavior will otherwise become an embarrassment to all. This info genuinely shared in the hope that such embarrassment for all, including spouses, such as info in national headlines, may be averted.”

Three days later, Scott Kelley received another email, from the same Tampa Angel address.

“Did you ask Jill about her promiscuous and adulterous behavior yet? It does not seem the nature of her inappropriate emails have changed this week. She is still the most self-centered, narcissistic person we’ve ever seen (a sign of insecurity).”

Eventually, Kelley became so concerned she approached FBI agent Fred Humphries, whom she had met at a local FBI citizens’ academy.

In her book, Kelley expands on allegations she made in a lawsuit that she and her husband filed against the FBI and Pentagon, claiming her privacy was violated by the leak of her name, that the FBI accused her of having affairs and that her emails were accessed without permission.

“The FBI is an agency that’s supposed to enforce the laws had now begun to break them,” Kelley writes. She singles out former agent Adam Malone, who, she writes, “got orders from bosses in Washington to search through all the emails on my personal Yahoo account. They did this because they wanted to see if I ever had an affair (If that was true why ever would I go to the FBI and bring attention to it?)”

In the book, as before, Kelley denies having an affair or engaging in any inappropriate behavior.

Kelley also writes about how the FBI launched an internal investigation into Humphries, a highly decorated FBI agent, over concerns that he and she were having an affair.

“It became apparent that you and I were the focus of the investigation,” Humphries told her in May of 2013, according to the book. “OPR (our internal affairs) determined that nothing inappropriate had occurred … I was told I … going to be re-assigned to a squad where I will be properly supervised.”

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On Aug. 11, 2012, while out at dinner, Petraeus told Kelley that Broadwell was the source of the emails and that she had sent them because she was “obsessed.”

Angry, Kelley told Petraeus that Broadwell was trying to ruin her marriage.

“I’m sorry,” he told her. “She lost control when she became obsessed with you. But as soon as I figured out who it was, I told her to stop stalking.”

Kelley was not soothed.

“Who was this man I proudly called my best friend?” she wondered.

Kelley said Petraeus later tried to get her to drop the charges against Broadwell. She said she wanted to accommodate his request but it was too late.

The book uses stories from The Tampa Tribune and from portions of depositions leaked to the Associated Press, Politico and other news organizations to make Kelley’s case that her name was intentionally leaked for political reasons, one of them being to sabotage Gen. Allen’s career. Then-Pentagon counsel Jeh Johnson, now Homeland Security secretary, told the Tribune that days after Petraeus resigned as director of the CIA, Johnson received a call from the FBI’s general counsel about a trove of emails uncovered during an investigation into an allegation by Kelley that she was being harassed by email. It was that complaint that led to the discovery of the Petraeus-Broadwell affair.

In the book, Kelley refers to Johnson as “Big Dog,” refraining from naming him on the advice of her lawyer.

Johnson said the FBI told him emails between Kelley and Allen were not relevant to Kelley’s complaint but might be of interest to the Department of Defense because “of a potentially inappropriate relationship involving a military officer,” who at the time was commanding U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, it is a violation for a married service member to have an affair.

The Pentagon Office of Inspector General investigated the email exchange and while there was no wrongdoing found, Allen opted to retire rather than go through a Senate hearing for a planned new job as commander of U.S forces in Europe.

“Obviously, General Allen was attacked in order to stop him from testifying about the progress of the war to Congress,” Kelley contends in her book.

She also writes about how her family was devastated by false innuendo and rumors and about her fruitless efforts to get help from Petraeus as news crews approached her about the scandal.

This month, Kelley’s attorneys in the lawsuit asked a judge to remove them from the case. Soon after, the Kelleys dropped their lawsuit.

At the time the book was published, the lawsuit was pending and Kelley said she was hoping to advocate for privacy rights in other ways.

“I can’t predict the outcome of my lawsuit, but I am determined not to be paralyzed by a lengthy process with an uncertain end,” she writes. “I hope by bringing awareness to my story, it will create a long over-due discussion, so this abuse never happens to another innocent American playing their trust in law enforcement.”


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