DOVER, Fla. The FBI agent who helped start the investigation that led to the resignation of David Petraeus as CIA director is a hard-charging veteran counterterrorism investigator who used his command of French in investigating the foiled millennium terrorist plot in 1999, colleagues said Wednesday.
Frederick W. Humphries II, 47, took the initial complaint from Jill Kelley, the Tampa, Fla., hostess who was socially active in military circles there, about emails that accused her of inappropriately flirtatious behavior toward Petraeus. The subsequent cyberstalking investigation uncovered an extramarital affair between Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, his biographer, who agents determined had sent the anonymous emails. It also ensnared Gen. John Allen, who commands U.S. troops in Afghanistan, after the investigation discovered that he had sent inappropriate communication to Kelley.
Colleagues and news reports described the role of Humphries in building the case against Ahmed Ressam, who was detained as he tried to enter the United States from Canada in 1999 with a plan to set off a bomb at Los Angeles International Airport.
In May 2010, after he had moved to the Tampa field office, Humphries was attacked outside the gate of MacDill Air Force Base by a disturbed knife-wielding man. He fatally shot the man, and the shooting was later ruled to be an appropriate use of force, according to bureau records and colleagues.
Two former law enforcement colleagues said Humphries was a solid agent with counterterrorism experience, conservative political views and a reputation for aggressiveness.
Fred is a passionate kind of guy, said one former colleague. Hes kind of an obsessive type. If he locked his teeth onto something, hed be a bulldog.
That description would appear to fit his involvement in the current investigation.
Humphries passed on Kelleys complaint to the cybersquad in the Tampa field office but was not assigned to the case. He was later admonished by supervisors who thought he was trying to insert himself improperly into the investigation.
Convinced that the case was being stalled for political reasons, Humphries in late October contacted Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., where the FBI agent had worked previously, to inform him of the case. Reichert put him in touch with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who passed the message to FBI Director Robert Mueller.
Lawrence Berger, the general counsel for the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, who spoke with Humphries, said that Humphries only received the information from Kelley and never played a role in the investigation.
Berger said that Humphries and his wife had been social friends with Ms. Kelley and her husband prior to the day she referred the matter to him.
They always socialized and corresponded, he said.
Shirtless photo a joke
Berger took issue with news media reports that have said his client sent shirtless pictures of himself to Kelley.
That picture was sent years before Ms. Kelley contacted him about this, and it was sent as part of a larger context of what I would call social relations in which the families would exchange numerous photos of each other, Berger said.
The photo was sent as a joke and was of Humphries posing with a couple of dummies. Berger said the picture was not sexual in nature.
In regard to his client speaking with Cantor, Berger declined to address the issue, saying only that his client had followed FBI protocols.
A law enforcement official said that disclosing a confidential investigation even to members of Congress could violate FBI rules. But the official said Humphries conduct was under review and that he had not been suspended or punished in any way.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less