Florida Socialite at Center of CIA Scandal

Former U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus resigned last week as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Defense.)

The Washington Post profiled Jill Kelley, the Tampa woman at the center of the widening scandal involving an FBI investigation related to David Petraeus, who resigned last week as director of the Central Intelligence Agency:

Kelley flaunted her access to these military VIPs but also developed what family members called genuine friendships with some. Now her close connections to retired Gen. David H. Petraeus and Gen. John R. Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, have brought them all under intense scrutiny in an unfolding scandal.

Federal investigators have said that Kelley’s complaint about harassing e-mails — which were eventually traced to Petraeus’s biographer — triggered the FBI’s discovery of the general’s extramarital affair and his eventual resignation from his post as head of the CIA. According to a senior defense official, Kelley, 37, also exchanged hundreds of e-mails with Allen, who has been ensnared in the case amid questions about whether he had “inappropriate communications” with her.

Kelley has not responded to requests for comment since her name surfaced as part of the controversy. Officials close to Allen strongly denied suggestions that the general acted inappropriately with her.

In an interview, Kelley’s brother said the relationship between his sister and Petraeus was social and entirely platonic. “They were truly good friends for years,” said David Khawam, a lawyer in New Jersey.

The investigations of Petraeus’s and Allen’s actions, nonetheless, have raised questions about how Kelley, a woman with no formal military role, cultivated such close ties to two of the nation’s most revered generals.

Meanwhile, Florida Center for Investigative Reporting Associate Director Trevor Aaronson — whose forthcoming book The Terror Factory, about FBI terrorism stings, will be released in January — joined RT America today to discuss the history of competition and mistrust between the FBI and CIA:

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