Nov 15, 2012 / 10:13 am
It started in May with a spiteful email to the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. An anonymous writer warned Gen. John Allen that a friend with whom he was meeting in Washington the following week was trouble and he should stay away from her.
Allen thought the email was a joke because he didn't know how anybody else would know about his personal plans with his friend, Florida socialite Jill Kelley, a person close to Kelley said.
That email started a chain of events that led to the downfall of CIA Director David Petraeus, put Allen's career on hold and landed a decorated FBI agent in hot water for talking about an ongoing investigation. The FBI traced that email and others of a similar vein to Paula Broadwell, Petraeus' biographer, who agents would soon learn had also been his lover.
The fast-moving scandal broke just days after President Barack Obama was elected to a second term in office. Obama's administration had been on the defensive for weeks because of a terror attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead. Briefings on the attack had been postponed until after the election and are now focused more immediately on Petraeus' love life than on how terrorists were able to attack the poorly defended consulate.
Petraeus was expected to talk to lawmakers behind closed doors Thursday or Friday. Speaking to the media for the first time since his resignation, he told CNN that he had never given classified information to Broadwell and that his resignation had nothing to with his upcoming testimony to Congress about the attack in Libya.
Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday that he knows of no other senior U.S. military officers being linked to the Petraeus investigation.
And Obama said Wednesday he's seen no evidence that national security was damaged by the revelations that ended his CIA director's career and imperil that of his Afghanistan war commander.
But lawmakers aren't taking Obama's word for it and grilled FBI and CIA officials privately about the same issues: whether national security was jeopardized by the case and why they didn't know about the investigation sooner.
The FBI's investigation of the matter began last summer when Kelley turned over anonymous emails that had been sent to her and Allen. The first anonymous email was sent to Allen in May, under the pseudonym "Kelleypatrol," the person close to Kelley said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.
The FBI has found a substantial number of classified documents on Broadwell's computer and in her home, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly about the case. Broadwell has told agents that she took classified documents out of security government buildings, the official said. Unauthorized possession of classified national defence documents is a crime. The Army has suspended Broadwell's security clearance, which she had as a former Army intelligence officer.
A federal law enforcement official said the FBI obtained a court warrant before viewing the contents of Broadwell's Gmail account. The FBI did not notify Broadwell beforehand, an omission that is not unusual, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the source was not authorized to speak on the record about the investigation.
Read more World News
- A parade fit for a Queen
- Hezbollah vows to keep fighting in Syria
- Woman mauled by chimp can't sue state
- Early results in Iran presidential election
- Newtown, Conn: six months later
- Boston woman pays $560K to park
- 2 found dead from Colo. wildfire
- Chemical plant explosion kills 1, 70 hurt
- Nazi SS commander found in Minnesota
- Syria's Assad used chemical weapons
- Colorado wildfire destroys 360 homes
- 93,000 confirmed killed in Syrian conflict
(Click for RSS instructions.)