FBI Probe of Petreaus Triggered by Threatening Emails Sent by Mistress

This is getting curiouser and curiouser. The Washington Post is reporting that the FBI initiated an investigation into former CIA Director David Peteraeus because his mistress and biographer, Paula Broadwell, sent threatening emails to a woman close to Petreaus.


The recipient of the e-mails was so frightened that she went to the FBI for protection and help tracking down the sender, according to the officials. The FBI investigation traced the threats to Paula Broadwell, a former military officer and a Petraeus biographer, and uncovered explicit e-mails between Broadwell and Petraeus, the officials said.

When Petraeus’s name surfaced, FBI investigators were concerned that the CIA director’s personal e-mail account had been hacked and that national security had been threatened. The officials said further investigation, including FBI interviews with Broadwell and Petraeus, led to the discovery that the two were engaged in an affair.

The identity of the woman who received the e-mails was not disclosed, and the nature of her relationship with Petraeus is unknown. The officials said the woman did not work at the CIA and was not Petraeus’s wife, Holly. The law enforcement officials said the e-mails indicated that Broadwell perceived the other woman as a threat to her relationship with Petraeus.

Attempts to reach Broadwell and her relatives have been unsuccessful, and she has not made a public statement since she was linked with Petraeus on Friday.

All three senior officials who described the impetus for the investigation spoke on the condition that their names be withheld because aspects of the inquiry are ongoing.

Petraeus, a retired four-star Army general who was once seen as a potential presidential candidate, said Friday that he was resigning as CIA chief because he had been involved in an extramarital affair. He has been married for 37 years and has two children.


This narrative directly contradicts another story of the affair which says that Broadwell broke off the relationship

A]n FBI source says the investigation began when American intelligence mistook an email Petraeus had sent to his girlfriend as a reference to corruption. Petraeus was commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan from July 4, 2010 until July 18, 2011.

The investigation began last spring, but the FBI then pored over his emails when he was stationed in Afghanistan. …

Given his top secret clearance and the fact that Petraeus is married, the FBI continued to investigate and intercept Petraeus’ email exchanges with the woman. The emails include sexually explicit references to such items as sex under a desk.

At some point after Petraeus was sworn in as CIA director on Sept. 6, 2011, the woman broke up with him. However, Petraeus continued to pursue her, sending her thousands of emails over the last several months, raising even more questions about his judgment.


FBI agents on the case expected that Petraeus would be asked to resign immediately rather than risk the possibility that he could be blackmailed to give intelligence secrets to foreign intelligence agencies or criminals. In addition, his pursuit of the woman could have distracted him as the CIA was giving Congress reports on the attack on the Benghazi consulate on Sept. 11.


So, did Broadwell break up with Petreaus who then sent “thousands of emails” presumably asking her to give him another chance? Or did Broadwell become jealous of another woman and threaten her with bodily harm? Is it possible that both narratives are true?

The WaPo story seems self serving to me. It reads like a typical, back door Washington gambit of trying to salvage something of Petreaus’s reputation while making Broadwell out to be some kind of femme fatale. Note also that the description of Broadwell varies wildly between the two narratives.

But Newsmax is hardly the most reliable — or unbiased — news outlet. That story reads like a partisan indictment of Obama for sitting on the bad news of the Petreaus scandal until after the election.

So where are we?

The fact that the story broke so soon after the election might tend to give credence to the Newsmax version of events — at least as it relates to the Obama administration refusing to accept Petreaus’s resignation until Friday. As for the image of a lovesick Petreaus sending more than 20 emails a day to Broadwell over several months, that doesn’t track with what we know of the former Iraq and Afghanistan commander.


Only one thing is certain; whatever additional information Petreaus could have provided to congressional investigators about the CIA response to the Benghazi attack will now be lost due to the former CIA director not being allowed to testify.


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