Petraeus’ Friend Says Pentagon Victimized Her

      WASHINGTON (CN) – Tampa socialite Jill Kelley and her husband sued the FBI and Pentagon, claiming they defamed her, invaded the Kelleys’ privacy and spurred death threats after her relationship with Gen. David Petraeus scuttled his job as director of the CIA.
     “While the facts ultimately leading to the resignation of Central Intelligence Agency (‘CIA’) Director David Petraeus … and abrupt retirement of General John Allen are by now very well known, there was no legally acceptable reason for the government to disclose confidential information about the Kelleys and thereby make them part of the public scandal,” the couple say in their federal complaint.
     Gilberte Jill Kelley and her husband Scott, a doctor, claim they went to the FBI for help in May 2012 after receiving threatening emails from an anonymous source. The messages disparaged Jill Kelley and referred to planned events involving the Kelleys and senior intelligence and defense officials, including Gen. Allen.
     The Kelleys claim they turned over the emails to the FBI, asking that it respect their privacy, but that unknown defendant government officials snooped through their email accounts, “then misused the emails obtained through brazen overreaching and overbroad search and seizure to conduct an unprofessional, frivolous and scurrilous investigation into Mrs. Kelley’s private relationships and affiliations that had no bearing on any pending criminal investigation or other legitimate concern to the FBI.”
     The FBI traced the emails to Paula Broadwell, Petraeus’ biographer and mistress, but the Kelleys say the Bureau did not reveal the stalker’s name to them. They claim the FBI violated privacy laws and its own policies to protect crime victims, by investigating Jill Kelley and implicating her in adulterous relationships with Petraeus, Allen and an FBI agent.
     The agent linked to Kelley told the couple that “at a time after the FBI was aware that Mrs. Broadwell was the cyber stalker, it had a chart posted up on the wall and visible to anyone in its Tampa field office, showing Mrs. Kelley at the hub with spokes drawn out to several senior government and military officials,” the complaint states.
     It adds: “There was no reason to have this chart unless the FBI had begun to treat Mrs. Kelley, the victim of the crime she reported to the FBI, as the target of its investigation. Moreover, the chart, as the FBI had posted it, did not shield Mrs. Kelley’s identity or safeguard her privacy in any way. To the contrary, the chart and other conduct of the agents in question demonstrated a sexist and discriminatory fascination with Mrs. Kelley that caused these officials to violate their duties and the rights to which Mrs. Kelley was entitled.”
     The Kelleys claim they discovered that the FBI knew Broadwell to be the source of the threatening emails on Nov. 9, 2012, the same day Petraeus resigned from the CIA amid reports of his affair.
     The next day, the Kelleys claims, “in utter disregard for her privacy and status as a victim, unnamed ‘law enforcement,’ ‘senior military,’ and other government officials were cited as having willfully leaked Mrs. Kelley’s name to the media.”
     The Kelleys say that’s when the interview requests, false accusations and Saturday Night Live skits lampooning Jill Kelley began.
     “Echoing the comments and perspectives of the Tampa FBI agents, and other government officials, there are now multitudes of headlines and videos demonstrating the gleeful, unabashed ridicule and mockery heaped on the Kelleys after the government leaked their names, bad facts and false information, and sexist innuendoes to the press,” the complaint states. “This leaked innuendo was drawn directly from confidential information provided by the Kelleys to help the FBI and to protect themselves from a stalker, and should not have been publicly associated by government officials with a national sex scandal that involved violations of law, adultery, and national security breaches committed by neither Dr. nor Mrs. Kelley. Indeed, a Google search for ‘Jill Kelley and Petraeus scandal’ on May 28, 2013 yields over 470,000 hits.”
     The Kelleys claim the privacy violations and defamation wrecked their private lives. They claim they’ve lost income because Jill Kelley’s damaged reputation has cost her real estate investment deals, her lucrative position as an honorary consul and a spot on the Board of Trustees for the International Council of the Tampa Bay Region. She also claims she no longer receives “prestigious invitations to the diplomatic and distinguished governmental functions at which she was a regular attendee.”
     They seek compensatory and punitive damages, and a formal apology from the FBI.
     The Kelleys are represented by Alan Raul with Sidley Austin.

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