Politics & Government

New book asserts Charlotte’s Paula Broadwell was jealous cyberstalker

“Collateral Damage” by Jill Kelley chronicles the emails the author says she received from a jealous Paula Broadwell in 2012. The book says former CIA Directed David Petraeus confided in emails that he had committed "something terrible and dishonorable” by having an affair with Broadwell, his married biographer.
“Collateral Damage” by Jill Kelley chronicles the emails the author says she received from a jealous Paula Broadwell in 2012. The book says former CIA Directed David Petraeus confided in emails that he had committed "something terrible and dishonorable” by having an affair with Broadwell, his married biographer. AP

A new book by the target of Paula Broadwell’s emails in 2012 returns the Charlotte resident to a critical spotlight, portraying Broadwell as a cyberstalker who was jealous of a former lover’s relationship with another woman.

In her self-published book, “Collateral Damage: Petraeus/Power/Politics and the Abuse of Privacy,” Jill Kelley reveals for the first time the anonymous 2012 emails her family and others received that were critical of Kelley’s friendship with then-CIA Director David Petraeus.

The book was released Monday. The emails are included in a chapter called “The Stalker” – a term Petraeus once used to describe Broadwell, Kelley writes.

Those online messages led to the discovery of an affair between Broadwell and Petraeus, the country’s former top military commander in Iraq and Afghanistan and the subject of Broadwell’s biography, who was considered a possible White House candidate at the time.

He resigned from the CIA in November 2012 after admitting the relationship with Broadwell, with whom he shared classified information. A year ago, he pleaded guilty in Charlotte federal court to mishandling government documents, a misdemeanor, and was fined $100,000. Broadwell was never charged.

Broadwell declined to comment Monday. Robert Muse, her Washington, D.C., lawyer, did not immediately respond to an email. Jake Sussman, Petraeus’ attorney in Charlotte, also declined to comment.

Kelley, of Tampa, Fla., was an unofficial ambassador and liaison between military commanders and U.S. allies when she reported to the FBI that she had received anonymous, troubling emails over a six-week period. In June 2012, Kelley was asked by the FBI if she knew anyone who had been to “Aspen, West Point, San Francisco and Charlotte” in the past month.

Later that year, FBI agents came to the Dilworth home where Broadwell lives with her husband and children, and discovered the classified documents Petraeus had shared with her.

Investigators would identify Broadwell as “Tampa Angel” and “Kelley Patrol” – the online pseudonyms used to accuse Kelley of inappropriate relationships with Petraeus and other military and diplomatic figures.

The messages followed an Easter dinner four years ago in which Kelley writes that she and Petraeus, after a night of drinking, compared each other’s muscles, including those on their upper legs. “Perhaps a little tipsy, David got a little enthusiastic comparing our quads,” Kelley writes.

The first email, from Kelley Patrol, went to Gen. John Allen in May 2012: “Be careful at dinner. She’ll play with you under the table as she has other generals.”

On June 1, 2012, according to the book, Tampa Angel emailed Kelley’s husband, Scott, a cancer surgeon:

“As her husband, you might want to examine your wife’s behavior and see if you can rein her in before we publicly share the pictures of her with her hands sliding between the legs of a senior service officials (while at a DC restaurant).”

In her book, Kelley denies affairs with Petraeus or any other officials. She says she and her husband often joined Petraeus and his wife Holly on innocent “double dates.”

A person close to the FBI’s investigation said Petraeus eventually confessed that he and Kelley had fondled each other at the Easter dinner. In 2012, Allen was investigated for possible inappropriate communication with Kelley but was cleared of misconduct.

The same investigative source expressed surprise at the characterization of Broadwell acting out of jealousy. Some bureau agents believed Broadwell could have been trying to protect Petraeus from a woman Broadwell considered indiscreet, said the source, who insisted upon anonymity because the FBI probe was confidential.

Kelley writes that Broadwell learned of her after Petraeus described Kelley as a “confidante” who Broadwell should interview for the “leadership” chapter of the Petraeus biography. When shown Kelley’s picture, Broadwell “became overwhelmed with feelings of jealousy,” Kelley writes.

Kelley says she first heard of Broadwell during a 2011 Christmas dinner at Petraeus’ Virginia home with her husband and his family.

Kelley says she was surprised that Petraeus’ biographer was Broadwell, a doctoral student who had never published something so ambitious.

“Why in the world would you let her write your biography?” Kelley says she asked.

Holly Petraeus answered that her husband didn’t allow it. “Her eyes blazed; clearly, Holly didn’t like this,” Kelley writes.

Kelley said Petraeus shrugged and said he thought he was helping Broadwell with her thesis. “But in the middle of working on it, she said she’d decided to sell it and make it into a biography. I had no choice; she said she already sold it to a publisher.”

The source familiar with the investigation says Petraeus was enthusiastic from the start about a book that would add to his “legend.”

“He had a lot of support to run for president before all of this happened,” the source said.

According to Kelley, Petraeus pressured her for months to call off the FBI. “Still think it best to avoid further pursuit, as it will undoubtedly drag all down,” he wrote.

FBI officials elected not to pursue Petraeus for exerting undue influence on an investigation, said the person familiar with the inquiry. The source described Broadwell as fully cooperative and having broken no laws.

In November 2012, two days after the presidential election, Petraeus sent Kelley another email.

“Last month the FBI interviewed me and I came clean,” Petraeus wrote, according to Kelley’s book. “I told them the whole story and thought it was over. But Paula wouldn’t stop trying to threaten me to go public and the whole world about the affair. And after she said it again today, I decided to beat her to the punch and tell the world myself ... Bottom line: I did something terrible and dishonorable.”

On the morning of Petraeus’ guilty plea in Charlotte, Broadwell tweeted out a 4:30 a.m. image of a light at the end of a tunnel. Earlier this year, the Pentagon said it would not pursue military punishment against either Petraeus or Broadwell.

The media is suing the federal government to release the Petraeus’ file and the Justice Department’s basis for his punishment, considered light by some critics.

Last week, Kelley and her husband dropped their lawsuit against the FBI, which accused the bureau of breaking into the couple’s private emails and sharing information with the media.

In the past year, both Kelley and Broadwell have started foundations. Kelley’s, on privacy rights and legal protection of emails; Broadwell’s, on gender bias in the media.

Michael Gordon: 704-358-5095, @MikeGordonOBS

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