The Petraeus scandal: What we know
Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus resigned as CIA director last week, citing an extramarital affair.
November 13th, 2012
09:40 PM ET

The Petraeus scandal: What we know

Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus resigned from his CIA director post last week after an FBI investigation revealed he had an extramarital affair, an investigation that also prompted questions about whether his paramour had inappropriate access to classified information.

The scandal also has sparked an investigation into whether Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, sent inappropriate messages to a different woman, leading President Obama to put Allen’s nomination to become NATO’s supreme allied chief on hold.

The FBI uncovered the Petraeus affair while it investigated e-mails that his paramour, Paula Broadwell, allegedly sent to a Petraeus family friend, Jill Kelley, according to a U.S. official. Kelley, meanwhile, is the woman to whom Allen allegedly sent inappropriate e-mails, according to the Defense Department.

Below is a summary of what we know about the situation.

The Petraeus affair

The FBI uncovered an affair between Petraeus, 60, and Petraeus biographer Paula Broadwell, 40, after Broadwell allegedly sent anonymous, harassing e-mails to Kelley in May, a U.S. official says. A senior official close to Allen says it was Allen who received an anonymous e-mail about Kelley, and tipped Kelley off that someone was threatening her.

Kelley, 37, says she and her husband are friends of Petraeus and his family. Media reports have described her as a liaison at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, where the U.S. Central Command is headquartered. Both Petraeus and Allen were previously stationed there. A Central Command spokesman said she is a volunteer with no official position.

Investigators eventually traced the e-mails to Broadwell, a U.S. official said. The messages were along the lines of "stay away from my guy," but not explicitly threatening, according to a U.S. official.

During the investigation, other communications surfaced between Petraeus and Broadwell, a married mother of two living in North Carolina, an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of War Studies at King's College London.

Broadwell, a West Point graduate, had written a biography of Petraeus, published in January, called “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus.” Having met Petraeus in 2006 when he spoke at Harvard, where she was a graduate student, she wrote the book after researching Petraeus for her Ph.D. dissertation on his leadership skills and visiting him and his team in Afghanistan, where he became top U.S. commander in 2010.

Petraeus and Broadwell began their affair in fall 2011, a few months after he returned to the United States, retired from the Army and took over at the CIA, according to a Petraeus friend. They ended it in summer 2012, Petraeus' friend said.

FBI investigators, following up on the anonymous e-mails to Kelley, discovered on Broadwell's computer e-mails that turned out to be from Petraeus, a U.S. official said.

On Election Day, November 6, Petraeus told Director of National Intelligence James Clapper about the affair, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official. Clapper advised Petraeus to resign, the official said.

On November 9, Petraeus quit the CIA, admitting to an affair. The House and Senate intelligence committees were informed of the FBI investigation the same day.

Petraeus' resignation came just days before he was scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee about the September 11 attack that killed four Americans at a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

The Allen allegations

The Defense Department’s inspector general is investigating allegations that Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, sent inappropriate messages to Kelley, the department said November 13. The FBI told the department about the allegations on November 11.

The potentially inappropriate messages were "flirtatious" in nature, a defense official who has been authorized to speak on the matter told CNN.

Allen has denied wrongdoing, a senior defense official said. Authorities are looking at the e-mails.

"There is no affair" between Allen and Kelley, a senior official close to Kelley said. "She is a bored rich socialite involved with every single senior commander at CENTCOM, because she worked as an honorary ambassador."

Investigations and fallout

Broadwell’s affair with Petraeus has raised questions about whether the affair gave her access to national security information that she shouldn’t have. The allegedly harassing e-mails that the FBI allegedly tracked to Broadwell detailed the "comings and goings of the generals and Ms. Kelley," according to a source. Among those believed to be referenced in the e-mails was Petraeus. Because parts of Petreaus' schedule were not public, the e-mails raised questions about whether the sender had access to sensitive information.

In a speech at the University of Denver at the end of October, Broadwell suggested the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi took place because the United States was housing Libyan prisoners there a theory, she noted, that had not been vetted yet. The claim has since been discounted by administration officials. Broadwell's source for that previously unpublished information remains unclear, and there's no evidence that it came from Petraeus.

A senior U.S. intelligence official said Broadwell did not have a security clearance from the CIA. Another official said Broadwell, who is an officer in the Army Reserve, did have some kind of security clearance and that there are no issues with Broadwell having unauthorized access to classified information.

 Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California and chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she would investigate why the FBI did not notify congressional oversight committees about its investigation into Petraeus after the bureau determined he was having a secret extramarital affair.

Because Petraeus resigned as CIA director, he won’t testify before Congress about the Benghazi attack as scheduled. Some Republicans have criticized the administration's response to the Benghazi attack and have speculated that the timing of Petraeus' departure was linked to the congressional inquiry.

Feinstein said that she still hopes to bring Petraeus to testify about the Benghazi attack on November 16.

While the nature of the relationship between Allen and Kelley, if any, is unclear, evidence of an affair could subject the general to military prosecution. Adultery is a violation of military law.

President Barack Obama has put Allen’s nomination to become NATO's supreme allied commander on hold pending the outcome of the investigation, White House spokesman Jay Carney said on November 13.


Filed under: CIA • Military • National security
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Matt

    I worked for the VP Cheney, but I am CIA, CIA fixed Iraq and worked to fix Afghanistan.

    November 14, 2012 at 5:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. Matt

    We work in the shadows, and we like, we seek nothing in return, only that which is asked of us, I we will deliver.

    November 14, 2012 at 6:05 am | Report abuse |
  3. Matt

    That is why I supported Mattis to run the Stan after McChrystal.

    November 14, 2012 at 6:26 am | Report abuse |
  4. Matt

    Cheney and Rumsfled had to shut their private emails down, so it was the WH and thousands went missing. Stupid. But I enjoyed running the war in the Stan for the short period of time.

    November 14, 2012 at 6:32 am | Report abuse |
    • zlop

      Understandably, Cheney and Rumsfled used high level encryption, to plan the original 9/11.
      This time, news of the Benghazi Stand Down leaked out too soon.
      Better cover up is needed, similar to USS Liberty and Gulf of Tomkin.

      November 14, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Matt

    I had earned the right to be in command, I had earned the trust of the President and VP, cut out like a cancer.

    November 14, 2012 at 6:43 am | Report abuse |
    • zlop

      Dogs of War earn the right to make one mistake - Growl at their Masters, then be nullified.
      Generals tried to rebel against their LBGT masters, but lacked Balls.
      By denying he issued the Stand Down - Insolent Petraeus did not enhance the narrative.
      Hence the General replacements.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Matt

    Don't believe the inter-agency rivalries, the FBI got results in Africa after bombings, the DOD grab for power, the FBI do their job, where does the CIA fit in. The Iranian revolts in 2009 was dead because we had not kill the IRGC, Basiji and police, so we let it run, advising the President not to support to see if anything turns up once the prisons are filled in relation to Bob Levinson. An American citizen, in the hands of animals.

    November 14, 2012 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
    • zlop

      Analysis here - Watch Pieczenik at 1:14 - Military Culture lost to the LBGT culture.
      "Alex Jones Show: Tuesday (11-13-12) Steve Pieczenik & Larry Pratt"

      November 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Loose Lips Sink Ships

    What other favors did the generals and feds do for the Lebanese twins and their benefactors?

    November 14, 2012 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Major Ahhhole

      Film clips, maybe? Stains on their fatigues?

      November 14, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  8. Matt

    It not a matter to be discussed, it could have be anyone ASIS, GRU, CIA.

    November 14, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  9. Matt

    I have done it before, who do you work for, don't want to do it again.

    November 14, 2012 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • zlop

      Deeply Embedded Under journalist cover,
      Paula Broadwell is a CIA Honey Pot ,entrapping the Military ?

      November 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kath1958

    Broadwell has two children? She's following Petraeus around Afghanistan? Who's minding the kids?

    November 14, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • LOL

      Her hubbie. You don't think she wasted all of her master manipulation skills on Petraeus do you?

      November 14, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • zlop

      Story of a Rockefeller Re-Engineered Woman,
      Seeking excitement and fulfillment - Paula Broadwell was a bored house wife.
      Unlike feminist icon Gloria Steinem - not a completely liberated woman.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dave254

    Isn't it amazing (to the point of SCARY) how our President, and his idiot sidekick Holder never know ANYTHING?

    November 14, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. chrissy

    On the internet you can SAY you did this or that and you can SAY you worked for the CIA, but that doent make it the TRUTH!

    November 14, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • zlop

      Only CNN is Truthfool a disinformation outlet for the CIA ?

      November 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John

    I dont see what a affair has to do with him running the CIA

    November 14, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Stevie

      I had the same reaction at first. Apparently the concern is that Patraeus could have leaked potentially sensitive information to her, as she was his biographer and was asking a lot of intimate questions in addition to having an intimate relationship. Basically, it was careless on his part on many levels and now there has to be an investigation into what she might know and who she might have told. If I understand correctly.

      November 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • zlop

      CIA was being compromised by Military culture.
      Hence the General take-down.

      November 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. rickygf

    Deni-ability, an Obozo trademark, if he knows nothing how can he be responsible, but wait he was elected to the highest post in the free world, he's supposed to know, maybe if he attended more 35% of his briefings he would know

    November 14, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      ah you are one of those that think that if there is something he needs to be told he wont be told it if he doesnt have an official briefing meeting.
      too funny.

      November 14, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. gary

    I think Jill Kelley has a mental problem similar to her sister. She has NO authority at MacDill AFB (CENTCOM Hdqtrs) and is simply a woman infatuated with her supposedly military connections.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
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