Gen. John Allen: How top US commander got caught up in Petraeus scandal (+video)
Gen. John Allen, the top US commander in Afghanistan, is now the subject of an FBI investigation for alleged "inappropriate communications" with Jill Kelley, a married socialite in Florida. Gen. John Allen denies any wrongdoing.
(Page 2 of 3)
The new details in the case brought expressions of amazement in Congress, already in an uproar over the Petraeus affair.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures The Petraeus affair: the players
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
"It's just tragic," King said on NBC. "This has the elements in some ways of a Hollywood movie or a trashy novel."
Lawmakers have said they should have been told earlier about the affair and are asking what the FBI knew and when it notified top Obama administration officials.
The White House wasn't informed of the FBI investigation that involved Petraeus until Nov. 6, Election Day, although agents began looking at Petraeus' actions months earlier, sometime during the summer. Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said she first learned of the matter from the media late last week and confirmed it in a phone call to the then-CIA director on Friday.
Obama on Friday accepted Petraeus' resignation.
The Justice Department — of which the FBI is part — is supposed to refrain from sharing detailed information about its criminal investigations with the White House.
The FBI also looked into whether a separate set of emails between Petraeus and Broadwell might involve any security breach. That will be a key question Wednesday in meetings involving congressional intelligence committee leaders, FBI deputy director Sean Joyce and CIA deputy director Michael Morell.
A federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the investigation, said the FBI had concluded relatively quickly — and by late summer at the latest — that there was no security breach. Absent a security breach, it was appropriate not to notify Congress or the White House earlier, this official said.
Extramarital affairs are viewed as particularly risky for intelligence officers because they might be blackmailed to keep the affair quiet. For military personnel, adultery is a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
According to two federal law enforcement officials, the FBI initially began a criminal investigation of unsigned, harassing emails that were sent, beginning last May, to Kelley. She and her husband, Scott, were longtime friends of Petraeus and his wife, Holly. FBI agents traced the alleged cyber harassment to Broadwell and discovered she was exchanging intimate messages with a private Gmail account. Further investigation revealed that account belonged to Petraeus, under an alias.
Agents later told Petraeus that Broadwell sent emails warning Kelley to stay away from the general and carrying a threatening tone.
Friends and former staff members of Petraeus told The Associated Press that he has assured them his relationship with Kelley was platonic. They said Petraeus was shocked to learn last summer of Broadwell's emails to Kelley.
Petraeus also denied to these associates that he had given Broadwell any sensitive military information.
FBI agents who contacted Petraeus told him that sensitive, possibly classified documents related to Afghanistan were found on her computer, the general's associates said. He assured investigators they did not come from him, and he mused to his associates that they were probably given to her on her reporting trips to Afghanistan by commanders she visited in the field there.