People Paper guide to the Petraeus scandal

Posted: November 15, 2012

IT'S A SEX SCANDAL with all the trappings of a steamy banned book: clandestine love notes, classified material, high-ranking military operatives, ambitious women and lavish parties.

But the fallout surrounding former CIA Director David Petraeus' resignation over an extramarital affair is also confusing. More characters and racy emails emerge every day.

How to keep up with the melodrama? Here's our abridged guide to the Petraeus affair, based on reporting from the Associated Press and other news outlets.

Former CIA Director David Petraeus

Called America's "most famous living general" by the Washington Post, Petraeus, 60, oversaw U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan before being named head of the CIA in 2011. Petraeus, married with grown children, resigned that post Friday after admitting an affair with Paula Broadwell.

Paula Broadwell

A writer and academic who graduated from West Point, Broadwell, 40, met Petraeus six years ago as a graduate student at Harvard. She is married with two small children.

Broadwell later began a dissertation about his career, which turned into a book project.

The affair came to light because of Jill Kelley.

Jill Kelley

A Tampa society hostess who threw parties for Petraeus in 2008, '09 and '10. Kelley, 37, told federal authorities earlier this year that she had been receiving harassing emails. The FBI discovered they were coming from Broadwell, who seemed to view her as a rival for Petraeus' affections. Petraeus has told colleagues that he and Kelley had a platonic friendship. The probe revealed that Kelley had an email friendship with Gen. John Allen.

Gen. John Allen

The four-star general is now under investigation for "inappropriate communication" with Kelley, according to the New York Times. Thousands of pages of emails between Kelley and Allen, 58, were reportedly under review. Allen - whose nomination as NATO commander for Europe has been put on hold - has denied any wrongdoing, and the White House has expressed support for him, the Times reported Tuesday.

Spring 2006 - Broadwell meets Petraeus when he gives a speech at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, where she is pursuing a graduate degree.

October 2008 - Petraeus takes over U.S. Central Command, based in Tampa, Fla., where he met Kelley and her physician husband.

June 2010 - Petraeus is named successor to Gen. Stanley A. McCrystal, after McCrystal makes critical comments to Rolling Stone magazine about the Obama administration. Broadwell starts working to turn a doctoral thesis about Petraeus into a book with collaborator Vernon Loeb, a Washington Post editor.

Late summer 2010 - Broadwell makes a number of reporting trips to Afghanistan, according to a piece by Loeb in the Post.

September 2011 - Petraeus becomes director of the CIA.

November 2011 - Petraeus and Broadwell begin their extramarital affair, retired Army Col. Steve Boylan told the Associated Press.

January - Broadwell's book, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, is published. The book reaches No. 33 on the New York Times' best-seller list.

May - Kelley begins getting harassing emails. An FBI probe kicks off.

July - The affair between Petraeus and Broadwell ends, according to Boylan.

Summer - The federal investigation leads to Broadwell, and authorities find the emails between her and Petraeus.

Nov. 9 - Petraeus resigns as director of the CIA, after admitting to the affair with Broadwell.


Skin - The FBI agent to whom Kelley reported the menacing emails is now under review for sending shirtless photos of himself to her before this investigation, the Wall Street Journal reported. That agent, who has not been named, also tipped off Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, of Washington state.

Subterfuge - To conceal their emails, Petraeus and Broadwell would reportedly compose messages and leave them in a draft folder in their accounts. Then the other person could log in to the same account and read them there without transmitting messages.

Duped - Loeb, a former Philadelphia Inquirer editor, wrote an essay in the Washington Post this week saying he had no idea that the two were having an affair. "My wife [KYW radio reporter Pat Loeb] says I'm the most clueless person in America," he wrote.

Outraged - Petraeus' wife of 38 years, Holly, is devastated, according to Boylan, who told ABC's "Good Morning America" that "furious would be an understatement."

Intrigue - Both Allen and Petraeus intervened in a custody battle involving Kelley's sister, according to a New York Post report. The paper says both generals wrote letters in support of Natalie Khawam, as she tried to gain custody of her 3-year-old son last year. A judge gave her ex-husband custody last fall, according to the AP.

Legal - The Kelley family has lawyered up bigtime, hiring Abbe Lowell, a Washington attorney whose big-name clients have included disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former presidential candidate John Edwards, whose career was ruined by a sex scandal.

Stardom - A character based on Petraeus, with a similar voice and appearance, is featured in the new video game "Call of Duty: Black Ops II," released Tuesday. The character was first reported by gaming site

Overshadowed - President Obama was re-elected on Tuesday, Nov 6.  

Cancer charity - Jill Kelley founded a questionable charity for cancer patients with her surgeon husband, Scott Kelley, the Huffington Post reported Tuesday. The Doctor Kelley Cancer Foundation claimed on its tax forms that it "shall be operated exclusively to conduct cancer research and to grant wishes to terminally ill adult cancer patients."

Financial records reveal that the group spent all of its money on parties, entertainment, travel and attorney fees. By the end of 2007, the charity was bankrupt.

 Jill and Scott Kelley have been sued at least nine times, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Despite a lavish lifestyle, they face foreclosure and massive amounts of debt, court documents show. Regions Bank is trying to foreclose on their $1.5 million mansion on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa.

The couple also face foreclosure on a three-story office building they own in downtown Tampa. Court records show that the Kelleys owe their bank nearly $2.2 million on the property.

Twitter: @PhillyClout


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