Prosecutor: Pentagon still investigating Paula Broadwell

Author Paula Broadwell made six trips to Afghanistan in 2010 to interview David Petraeus for her biog
Author Paula Broadwell made six trips to Afghanistan in 2010 to interview David Petraeus for her biog

A top federal prosecutor says the Pentagon continues to investigate Charlotte resident Paula Broadwell for her affair with Gen. David Petraeus and their handling of classified material, despite a published report to the contrary.

Citing unnamed military sources, the Washington Post wrote last month that the Army has recommended no further punishment against Petraeus, the former U.S. military commander in Iraq and Afghanistan. Citing a “senior Army official,” the paper also said the military “was not contemplating taking action” against Broadwell, the general’s biographer. The final decision in both cases rests with Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, who was not expected to overrule the Army, the paper said.

In response to Observer questions about the Post account, U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose described the Pentagon probe differently. She said Army officials involved in the case say no decision has been made about military punishment for Petraeus and Broadwell, and that the Army’s investigation of Broadwell, an Army reservist, continues.

Rose headed the investigation that led to Petraeus pleading guilty to illegally keeping classified information, which court documents accused him of sharing with Broadwell and then lying about it to the FBI. Word of their affair forced the former general to resign his post as director of the CIA in 2012.

In mid-November, Rose said, a team of Army investigators came to Charlotte to review the evidence gathered in the Petraeus criminal case.

While Rose said she and the FBI office in Charlotte have no day-to-day involvement in the military probe, both continue to coordinate the exchange of information. Based on her conversations with senior military officials this week, Rose said, “This investigation remains ongoing.”

In April, Petraeus entered his guilty plea in Charlotte federal court and was sentenced to two years’ probation and a $100,000 fine.

After the sentencing, Rose said her investigation continued, implying that Broadwell, the author of “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus,” continued to be a target.

Legal experts have said from the start that Broadwell’s security clearance as a journalist while working with Petraeus on the book complicated any criminal investigation. Investigators say none of the classified information Petraeus shared with Broadwell appeared in her book.

Nine months later, no charges against the Charlotte author and activist have been filed. Asked Thursday whether her office’s probe was still active, Rose declined comment.

Broadwell did not respond to emails this week seeking a response. Her attorney, Robert Muse of Washington, D.C., declined comment Friday. Emails to the FBI and the Army’s public relations office were not returned.

Broadwell, a West Point graduate and the married mother of two, moved to Charlotte with her family in 2009 – three years after she met Petraeus during a speaking engagement at Harvard University, where Broadwell was a graduate student. Within three years, she had become the general’s biographer, even though she had never written a book.

Her affair with the former military commander of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan became public in 2012. Investigators say Broadwell sent threatening emails to Florida socialite Jill Kelley and her husband, who were friends with Petraeus and other military leaders. Kelley notified the FBI, and agents in Charlotte found intimate messages between Petraeus and Broadwell stored on Broadwell’s home computer.

Broadwell apologized for the affair during a brief TV interview in 2013 and has since focused on projects such as physical fitness, help for returning veterans and Wounded Warriors.

She was not charged in connection with the 2012 emails to Kelley and her family. But she may be pulled into the lawsuit in which Kelley and her husband accuse the FBI of sharing their personal information with journalists.

Asked in an email whether Broadwell and Petraeus have been subpoenaed to testify, Kelley attorney Allan Raul of Washington, D.C., did not respond.

(NOTE: Story updated Jan. 9 to correct the year in which the affair became public.)

Michael Gordon: 704-358-5095, @MikeGordonOBS