Story Summary

Petraeus scandal engulfs Washington

On Nov. 9, retired Army Gen. David Petraeus resigned as CIA director after acknowledging an affair.

Story Timeline
Previous Next
This story has 5 updates

WASHINGTON — The FBI agent who alerted Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., in October to the David Petraeus scandal had previously worked in Washington state and was involved in the “Millennium Bomber” case, it was reported Wednesday.

The New York Times identified the agent as Frederick W. Humphries II, 47, and said he became a whistle-blower out of fear the investigation of the CIA director was being stalled for political reasons.

Colleagues and news reports described the role of Humphries, in just his third year at the FBI, in building the case against Ahmed Ressam, who was detained as he tried to enter the United States from Canada in 1999 with a plan to set off a bomb at Los Angeles International Airport, the  Times said.

In May 2010, Humphries was moved to the Tampa, Fla., field office, the Times said.

After he alerted Reichert to the Petraeus scandal, the congressman passed the agent onto House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., Reichert’s office said.

The Reichert connection was first reported in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine.

“Our office stands by the accuracy of the original New York Times article as it pertains to Rep. Reichert,” Reichert’s office said in a statement Monday. “We have no further comment about our involvement.”

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported that the same FBI agent is under investigation for allegedly becoming personally involved in the case and for allegedly sending shirtless photos to one of the people involved.

Reichert reportedly sent the FBI agent who told him about the probe to Cantor, and the House Republican leader told FBI Director Robert Mueller what he had heard.

“I was contacted by an FBI employee, concerned that sensitive, classified information may have been compromised and made certain Director Mueller was aware of these serious allegations and the potential risk to our national security,” Cantor said in a news release.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the FBI agent who spoke to Reichert was barred from taking part in the case over the summer due to superiors’ concerns that he had become personally involved in the case.

FBI officials declined to identify the agent, who is now under investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, the internal-affairs arm of the FBI, “two officials familiar with the matter” told the Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper said the FBI agent who started the case was a friend of Jill Kelley, the Tampa woman who received harassing, anonymous emails that led to the probe, according to officials. Ms. Kelley  complained in May about the emails to a friend who is an FBI agent. That agent referred it to a cyber crimes unit, which opened an investigation.

However, supervisors soon became concerned that the initial agent might have grown obsessed with the matter, and prohibited him from any role in the investigation, the officials told the Wall Street Journal.

The FBI officials found that he had sent shirtless pictures of himself to Ms. Kelley, according to the people familiar with the probe, the Journal said.

That same agent, after being barred from the case, contacted  Reichert, because he was concerned senior FBI officials were going to sweep the matter under the rug, the officials told the Wall Street Journal.

The scandal surrounding the decorated four-star Army general who once ran the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan involves questions of national security, politics and even the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead.

Petraeus, 60, resigned Friday after acknowledging he had an affair with a woman later identified as his biographer, Paula Broadwell, 40, a fellow West Point graduate who spent months studying the general’s leadership of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Days after Petraeus’ resignation stunned Washington, information continues to emerge. Among other things, a video has surfaced of a speech by Petraeus’ paramour in which she suggested the Libya attack was targeting a secret prison at the Benghazi consulate annex, raising unverified concerns about possible security leaks.

The affair came to light during an FBI investigation of “jealous” e-mails reportedly sent by Broadwell to a woman named Jill Kelley, a government source familiar with the investigation told CNN on Monday.

Kelley, 37, and her husband Scott released a statement saying they have been friends with Petraeus and his family for more than five years and asked for privacy.

Although Kelley lives in Tampa, Florida, she’s known as a member of Washington’s social circuit, according to the government source. The source has not spoken to Kelley, but says friends describe her as feeling like she is an “innocent victim.”

Petraeus has denied having an affair with anyone other than Broadwell, according to a friend of the former general who has spoken with him since news of the affair broke.

The scandal also is rumbling through the halls of Congress, where leaders in both parties are seeking answers about the FBI investigation and there’s much speculation about the impact Petraeus’ resignation will have into the inquiry into the Benghazi attack.

Petraeus was scheduled to testify on the attack and the government’s reaction to it this week.

The New York Times also reported Sunday that investigators found classified documents on Broadwell’s laptop computer. The newspaper cited investigators as saying Petraeus denied he had given them to her.

Retired Gen. James “Spider” Marks, for whom Broadwell once worked and who knows Petraeus, said he doubts security protocols were breached despite what seems an unlikely indiscretion on the part of Petraeus.

“There’s almost zero percent chance that national security was compromised or at risk,” he said Monday.

A senior U.S. intelligence official said an extramarital affair by a CIA officer is not automatically considered a security violation.

“It depends on the circumstances,” the official said.

The official also 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.

WASHINGTON D.C. -President Barack Obama said Wednesday he has seen no evidence of a potentially damaging breach in national security stemming from the affair involving former CIA Director David Petraeus.

Obama declined to comment on questions about why the FBI did not notify the White House and congressional leaders sooner of the investigation that led to Petraeus’ resignation.

“I am withholding judgment with respect to how the entire process surrounding Gen. Petraeus came up,” he said. “We don’t have all the information yet but I want to say I have a lot of confidence generally in the FBI. So I’m going to wait and see.”

In Congress, some lawmakers in both parties are increasingly concerned that they were not notified sooner of the investigation that led to Petraeus’ downfall, as well as potential security breaches.

In calling for a special select committee to investigate the September 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, said he is increasingly concerned about the potential fallout from the Petraeus affair and any national security implications, including ones linked to the Libya attack.

“The goal of this investigation is to have professional staff that hears everyone testify, the same set of senators who hears everyone testify so we can segregate out the weird from the national security,” Graham said. “And there is beginning to be a national security component to the human failing that I want to know about.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, and ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Maryland, were expected to conduct a “big-time dive” in closed-door briefings with CIA and FBI officials into issues surrounding Petraeus’ resignation and whether Congress should have been notified sooner.

FBI Director Robert Mueller joined Deputy Director Sean Joyce and acting CIA Director Mike Morell in briefing the lawmakers.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said Tuesday that she has “many questions about the nature of the FBI investigation, how it was instituted.”

“And we’ll be asking those questions,” she said.

But the committee’s ranking Republican member, Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, said Wednesday the group will not look into questions about the FBI investigation and how congressional leaders learned about it until after the bureau concludes its work.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on Wednesday defended his request to withhold the nomination of Gen. John Allen to become NATO commander pending the investigation into his contacts with Jill Kelley, the woman whose complaints about anonymous, harassing e-mails led to the discovery of Petraeus’ affair with Paula Broadwell, his former biographer.

Defense officials announced Tuesday that the FBI had referred information to them indicating Allen may have exchanged potentially inappropriate e-mails with Kelley, who is an unofficial volunteer at MacDill Air Force Base. Allen was once stationed at the base.

Allen has denied wrongdoing, a senior defense official said. Sources familiar with Kelley have said the relationship between the two was not sexual.

“There is no affair,” a senior official close to Allen said. “She is a bored rich socialite involved with every single senior commander at CentCom, because she worked as an honorary ambassador.”

The move to delay Allen’s nomination was “a prudent measure until we can determine what the facts are, and we will,” Panetta told reporters Wednesday. “No one should leap to any conclusions.”

He said Allen “certainly has my continued confidence to lead our forces,” a viewpoint shared by Obama, according to White House spokesman Jay Carney.

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.

That Allen remains in command in Afghanistan suggests that there is no criminal issue, a U.S. official told CNN. But the official said the Defense Department’s inspector general, an agency watchdog, could still find evidence of criminal conduct.

Kelley has not responded publicly to the latest news.

Both Allen and Petraeus appear to know Kelley’s sister, Natalie Khawam. The men wrote letters in support of the sister in a custody battle, court records show.

One of the sources familiar with Kelley said she first mentioned the alleged harassment in a casual conversation with an FBI agent she knew socially. She did not seek him out specifically for action on the matter, but he was happy to help, the source said. The source added that Kelley did not know at first that the e-mails led to Petraeus.

Kelley, 37, and her husband have released a statement saying they have been friends with Petraeus and his family for more than five years and asked for privacy.

Petraeus’ affair and national security questions

Meanwhile, details continue to emerge Wednesday about the Petraeus affair.

A source familiar with Kelley’s version of events said the anonymous e-mails later traced to Broadwell — which led to the discovery of Petraeus’ affair — began in June. It wasn’t until two months later that the FBI told Kelley who had sent the e-mails, said the source, adding that Kelley does not know Broadwell and has never met her.

Kelley’s version differs from one offered by the senior official close to Allen, who said it was Allen who received an anonymous e-mail about Kelley, and tipped her off that someone was threatening her.”

On Monday, FBI agents were at Broadwell’s home in Charlotte, North Carolina, according to spokeswoman Shelley Lynch. She declined to say what the agents were doing there.

A source told CNN national security contributor Fran Townsend that Broadwell was acting as Petraeus’ archivist and that the FBI went to the house to look for any documents she might have. It was not clear, the source said, whether any of the material was classified.

The Internet has been abuzz with video of a speech by Broadwell in which she suggested the Libya attack last September 11 was targeting a secret prison at the Benghazi consulate annex, raising unverified concerns about possible security leaks.

“I don’t know if a lot of you have heard this, but the CIA annex had actually taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to get these prisoners back,” she said in a speech last month at the University of Denver.

A senior intelligence official denied the claims, saying no prisoners were ever held at the annex. Broadwell did not provide a source for her information, and there’s no evidence so far that it came from Petraeus.

Administration officials have said the Benghazi assault was a terrorist attack.

Petraeus was scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill this week about the Benghazi attack at closed-door hearings. Some Republicans have criticized the administration’s response to the attack and have speculated that the timing of Petraeus’ departure was linked to the congressional inquiry.

Feinstein said Tuesday that she hopes to bring Petraeus before the panel as early as Friday.

CNN

WASHINGTON — The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan allegedly exchanged “flirtatious” e-mails with a woman who was supposedly being threatened by the CIA director’s mistress, according to a Defense Department official.

Now, the commander, Marine Gen. John Allen, is being investigated by the Defense Department, the woman who traded flirty e-mails with Allen is asking for privacy, and the home of the former spy chief’s lover has been searched by the FBI.

Confused? You’re not alone.

These are the latest developments in the complicated and widening scandal that began with CIA Director David Petraeus and two women with military connections, and has now ensnared Allen.

It also threatens to bog down a newly re-elected President Barack Obama. His administration is preparing for critical fiscal negotiations with Congress, but instead finds itself facing questions about sex scandals and dealing with powerful lawmakers increasingly concerned about potential security risks and why they weren’t told of the Petraeus affair sooner.

“Well, I certainly wouldn’t call it welcome,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in facing a blizzard of questions about Petraeus and Allen at Tuesday’s press briefing.

The FBI informed defense officials about the allegations involving Allen on Sunday, the Defense Department said, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta referred the issue to the department’s inspector general for investigation.

According to the Defense Department, Allen is under investigation for what one defense official referred to as “flirtatious” e-mail messages with Jill Kelley, the woman whose complaints about anonymous, harassing e-mails led to the discovery of Petraeus’ affair with a woman later identified as his biographer, Paula Broadwell.

Petraeus, a retired four-star general and Allen’s former military boss at the U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM, resigned Friday from his post at the CIA after acknowledging the affair.

Although Obama continues to have faith in Allen’s leadership, he nevertheless put the Marine Corps general’s nomination to become NATO’s supreme allied commander on hold pending the outcome of the investigation, Carney said.

Allen will retain his post as the commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, pending Senate confirmation of a successor, according to the Defense Department. That vote is due Thursday, Senate officials said.

Allen has denied wrongdoing, a senior defense official said.

The investigation into Allen is in its early stages, but authorities are looking into some 20,000 to 30,000 pages of documents, a defense official told CNN. It is not clear how many of those include potentially inappropriate communications.

A U.S. official told CNN on Tuesday that many of the documents could be innocuous, involving routine business that Allen and Kelley were both involved in at the U.S. Central Command.

“In his duties at CENTCOM, Gen. Allen conducted a lot of legitimate business. She (Kelley) did a lot of work with CENTCOM, including Wounded Warriors and such,” the official said. “It could be that 29,900 of the documents are legitimate business, and the few remaining raise a few eyebrows.”

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

Sources familiar with Kelley have said the relationship between the two was not sexual. One said their communications were not of a sexual nature, while another allowed that the e-mails were flirtatious.

That Allen is remaining in command in Afghanistan suggests that there is no criminal issue, another U.S. official told CNN. But the official said the Defense Department’s inspector general, an agency watchdog, could still find evidence of criminal conduct.

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.

“I think he ought to stay on unless there is some reason put forward that he has done something wrong, and then I think the military leaders will decide then what the actions will be,” Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said when asked whether he thought Allen should step down from his Afghanistan job.

Widespread media reports have described Kelley 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 at the base. A Central Command spokesman said she is a volunteer with no official position.

The Petraeus scandal also has raised questions about potential impacts on national security, including concerns that his paramour may have had access to his classified schedule and a New York Times report that she had classified documents on her laptop computer.

FBI agents were at Broadwell’s Charlotte, N.C., home late Monday, said local FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch. She declined to say what the agents were doing there.

– CNN

SEATTLE — Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., was alerted in October to the scandal involving CIA Director David Petraeus and passed the FBI agent ‘whistle-blower’ onto House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., Reichert’s office confirmed Monday.

The Reichert connection was first reported in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine.

“Our office stands by the accuracy of the original New York Times article as it pertains to Rep. Reichert,” Reichert’s office said in a statement Monday. “We have no further comment about our involvement.”

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Jounral reported that the same FBI agent is under investigation for allegedly becoming personally involved in the case and for allegedly sending shirtless photos to one of the people involved.

Reichert reportedly sent the FBI agent who told him about the probe to Cantor, and the House Republican leader told FBI Director Robert Mueller what he had heard.

“I was contacted by an FBI employee, concerned that sensitive, classified information may have been compromised and made certain Director Mueller was aware of these serious allegations and the potential risk to our national security,” Cantor said in a news release.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the FBI agent who spoke to Reichert was barred from taking part in the case over the summer due to superiors’ concerns that he had become personally involved in the case.

FBI officials declined to identify the agent, who is now under investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, the internal-affairs arm of the FBI, “two officials familiar with the matter” told the Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper said the FBI agent who started the case was a friend of Jill Kelley, the Tampa woman who received harassing, anonymous emails that led to the probe, according to officials. Ms. Kelley  complained in May about the emails to a friend who is an FBI agent. That agent referred it to a cyber crimes unit, which opened an investigation.

However, supervisors soon became concerned that the initial agent might have grown obsessed with the matter, and prohibited him from any role in the investigation, the officials told the Wall Street Journal.

The FBI officials found that he had sent shirtless pictures of himself to Ms. Kelley, according to the people familiar with the probe, the Journal said.

That same agent, after being barred from the case, contacted  Reichert, because he was concerned senior FBI officials were going to sweep the matter under the rug, the officials told the Wall Street Journal.

The scandal surrounding the decorated four-star Army general who once ran the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan involves questions of national security, politics and even the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead.

Petraeus, 60, resigned Friday after acknowledging he had an affair with a woman later identified as his biographer, Paula Broadwell, 40, a fellow West Point graduate who spent months studying the general’s leadership of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Days after Petraeus’ resignation stunned Washington, information continues to emerge. Among other things, a video has surfaced of a speech by Petraeus’ paramour in which she suggested the Libya attack was targeting a secret prison at the Benghazi consulate annex, raising unverified concerns about possible security leaks.

The affair came to light during an FBI investigation of “jealous” e-mails reportedly sent by Broadwell to a woman named Jill Kelley, a government source familiar with the investigation told CNN on Monday.

Kelley, 37, and her husband Scott released a statement saying they have been friends with Petraeus and his family for more than five years and asked for privacy.

Although Kelley lives in Tampa, Florida, she’s known as a member of Washington’s social circuit, according to the government source. The source has not spoken to Kelley, but says friends describe her as feeling like she is an “innocent victim.”

Petraeus has denied having an affair with anyone other than Broadwell, according to a friend of the former general who has spoken with him since news of the affair broke.

The scandal also is rumbling through the halls of Congress, where leaders in both parties are seeking answers about the FBI investigation and there’s much speculation about the impact Petraeus’ resignation will have into the inquiry into the Benghazi attack.

Petraeus was scheduled to testify on the attack and the government’s reaction to it this week.

The New York Times also reported Sunday that investigators found classified documents on Broadwell’s laptop computer. The newspaper cited investigators as saying Petraeus denied he had given them to her.

Retired Gen. James “Spider” Marks, for whom Broadwell once worked and who knows Petraeus, said he doubts security protocols were breached despite what seems an unlikely indiscretion on the part of Petraeus.

“There’s almost zero percent chance that national security was compromised or at risk,” he said Monday.

A senior U.S. intelligence official said an extramarital affair by a CIA officer is not automatically considered a security violation.

“It depends on the circumstances,” the official said.

The official also 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.

(CNN) –  David Petraeus stepped down as the director of the CIA on Friday, citing an affair.

“After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours,” he said in a letter sent to colleagues.

“Teddy Roosevelt once observed that life’s greatest gift is the opportunity to work hard at work worth doing. I will always treasure my opportunity to have done that with you and I will always regret the circumstances that brought that work with you to an end,” he added in the letter.

A retired U.S. Army general who served as the top U.S. commander in Iraq and Afghanistan, Petraeus, 60, was sworn in as the head of the CIA in September 2011.

President Barack Obama accepted his resignation during a phone call Friday, according to a senior administration official.

The two men met Thursday. During that meeting, Petraeus offered his resignation to the president and explained the circumstances behind it, the official said.

“By any measure, he was one of the outstanding general officers of his generation, helping our military adapt to new challenges, and leading our men and women in uniform through a remarkable period of service in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he helped our nation put those wars on a path to a responsible end,” Obama said about Petraeus.

“As director of the Central Intelligence Agency, he has continued to serve with characteristic intellectual rigor, dedication and patriotism.”

The president expressed confidence the CIA will move forward under the direction of Acting Director Michael Morell.

Morrell, a career agency officer, was sworn in as deputy director of the CIA in May 2010.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued a statement Friday confirming that Petraeus had turned in his resignation, saying his “decision to step down represents the loss of one of our nation’s most respected public servants.”

Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, praised Petraeus as a “true American patriot.”

Petraeus and his wife, Holly, live in Virginia. They have two grown children, a son and a daughter.

Advertisement