Did Petraeus Biographer Fear Another Mistress?

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 11 2012 3:15 PM

Petraeus Affair Uncovered After Mistress Sent Threatening Emails to Another Woman

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David Petraeus and his wife, Holly, in August 2011

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

UPDATE: The Florida woman who allegedly received the harassing emails from Paula Broadwell was 37-year-old Jill Kelley, the State Department’s liaison to the military’s Joint Special Operations Command, a military official tells the Associated Press.

Sunday, Nov. 11 at 11:56 a.m.: The other woman seems to have been concerned about another woman. The drama surrounding the resignation of CIA director David Petraeus keeps on increasing as the latest reports say Paula Broadwell may have feared there was another woman in his life. Or, at least, another woman who may have threatened Broadwell's personal relationship with Petraeus. The FBI began the investigation that would eventually uncover an affair between Broadwell and Petraeus when an unidentified women close to the CIA director asked authorities to help track down the sender of the “threatening and harassing” emails, reports the Washington Post.

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Broadwell was quickly uncovered as the sender, and authorities began investigating the possibility of a cybercrime because at least some of the emails sent to the Florida woman included contents of messages that appeared to be from Petraeus’ account, reports the Wall Street Journal. But it didn’t take them long to realize there had been no hacking, but rather Petraeus apparently shared some access to his account with Broadwell.

The unidentified woman was not a family member nor in the government, reports the New York Times. Yet the emails Broadwell sent seemed to indicate she thought the woman and Petraeus were beginning a relationship. Although there is no evidence that was the case, it raised fears that the CIA director was involved in a messy personal situation that could leave him vulnerable to blackmail. Although there was also concern that Broadwell had obtained classified information, investigators ended up concluding Petraeus wasn't the one who gave it to her.

The Washington Post talks to several people close to Petraeus who say they were surprised he gave so much access to Broadwell, a woman who was suddenly in charge of writing his biography even though she had never written a book before. Several of his closest aides didn't like how the normally careful Petraeus seemed to let his guard down around Broadwell. She doesn't appear to have been well liked by those close to Petraeus. It wasn't just that Broadwell seemed too willing to leverage her close relationship with Petraeus but also that her outfits ("usually tight shirts and pants") led to complaints in Afghanistan. Petraeus was apparently forced to tell her to "dress down" through a staffer, reports the Post. Despite the concerns, no one seems to have believed there was anything inappropriate about the relationship between Broadwell and Petraeus.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.