Jan 22, 2013 No Comments ›› Chuck Biscuits
Excerpted from The Daily Beast: She learned of the mysterious message from her husband, Scott, who opened the note on his iPhone, under the Yahoo account they share, as he was about to board a plane.
Kelley says she was “terrified” late last summer when he told her about the email. In that note and the barrage that followed, “there was blackmail, extortion, threats,” Kelley told me in her first interview since the David Petraeus scandal erupted, breaking a silence of nearly three months.
These emails, as Kelley would later learn along with the rest of the world, were from Paula Broadwell, whose affair with Petraeus triggered his resignation as CIA director. But the writer was so ambiguous, says Kelley, that “I didn’t even know it was a female.”
Contradicting virtually every published account of the saga, Kelley indicates that the anonymous emails did not warn her to stay away from Petraeus, as is commonly assumed. And yet the press depicted the two of them as “romantic rivals. Think how bizarre that is,” Kelley says.
One person close to Kelley says the tone of the notes grew increasingly severe and, without being explicit, threatening. She declined to show me the emails, which another source described as fewer than 10 in number.
Did Kelley come to suspect that Broadwell was behind the dark messages?
“I never met Paula in my life,” Kelley says. At the time, Kelley says, she didn’t even know Broadwell had just published a glowing biography of Petraeus.
It seems evident that Broadwell had grown jealous about what she perceived as Kelley’s close relationship with Petraeus; at one awards ceremony, he kissed her on the cheek. But Kelley will not speculate about Broadwell’s motivation.
Kelley’s complaint to the FBI set in motion a chain of events that culminated days after the November election with Petraeus, the architect of U.S. war strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan, acknowledging the affair with Broadwell and leaving the Obama administration.
Kelley, 37, would find herself the subject of fevered speculation that she was carrying on with Gen. John Allen, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, which she flatly denies. Allen also has denied wrongdoing.
Kelley bristles at those eye-catching media reports that she and Allen exchanged as many as 30,000 emails, calling the figure “outrageous.” While Kelley will not provide an estimate, she says she believes the emails totaled in the hundreds.
What has been lost in the lurid and sometimes mocking coverage is the toll the scandal has taken on Kelley, her husband, and their three young children.