The widening scandal involving former CIA director David Petraeus is becoming more absurd than a Coen Brothers farce. When Burn After Reading seems somewhat more plausible than what’s unfolding real life …
Thought you had a bead on all the nonsense? Think again.
Before the weekend, the story was getting wackier by the minute, but it was still manageable. We had David Petraeus, four-star Army general, former top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, engaged in covert ops with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. It seemed simple enough. The pair jogged together. They spent time together. One thing led to another, nothing too crazy.
• SEE ALSO: You Win the David Petraeus Round, New York Post
Then it expanded to include Jill Kelley, a woman who has since been identified as friend of Petraeus and a non-paid social liaison with military families at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. Kelley blew the whistle on the whole affair after receiving aggressive, threatening emails from Broadwell, which led her to a friend at the FBI. That’s when it was revealed that Petraeus — again, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency — had been messing around with a secret Gmail account, sending explicit emails to Broadwell, who shared this account … with her husband.
Then it gets weird.
The FBI agent to whom Kelley turned was deemed too close to the case — that’ll happen when you send shirtless photos of yourself to a married woman. The shirtless presentation occurred before this Petraeus business, but nonetheless, “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 Wall Street Journal reported.
Agent Shirtless then ran this outside the chain of command:
The agent, after being barred from the case, contacted a member of Congress, Washington Republican David Reichert, because he was concerned senior FBI officials were going to sweep the matter under the rug, the officials said. That information was relayed to top congressional officials, who notified FBI headquarters in Washington.
And, now, the coup de grâce: The Petraeus scandal may be set to take down the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen. The “FBI uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of communications – mostly emails spanning from 2010 to 2012 – between Allen and Jill Kelley,” Reuters reported. Those messages, mostly emails, contain “potentially inappropriate” communication, aka Battlefield Sexting, the most thrilling kind.
• SEE ALSO: David Petraeus Resigns Over Extramarital Affair
But, wait, now there’s another version of the story:
The Pentagon did not address the nature of Kelley’s alleged relationship with Allen. But another senior U.S. official, who is close to Allen, strongly denied that the general and Kelley had an affair or engaged in inappropriate communication. Allen and Kelley, who threw parties and other social events involving senior leaders at the Central Command, did exchange “a few hundred e-mails over a couple of years,” beginning when Allen was the deputy commander at the Central Command, this senior official said. But “most of them were about routine stuff.”
“He’s never been alone with her,” the senior official said. “Did he have an affair? No.”
The senior official also questioned the volume of communications reported by the Pentagon, saying “it was nowhere near” 20,000-30,000 personal messages. The senior official said Allen received at least one e-mail about Kelley from an unidentified account that eventually was traced to Paula Broadwell, a former Army officer who was Petraeus’s biographer and, it turns out, his mistress.
Allen vehemently denies the charges.
Remember, though, adultery can be a crime in the military.
Oh, and Petraeus’ former spokesperson wore this on TV:
Also, the FBI is conducting searches of Broadwell’s home. This ain’t over.
Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction …