Florida socialite in Petraeus scandal feels ‘scared,’ betrayed
(Reuters) – Days after an extramarital affair forced CIA Director David Petraeus to resign, the Florida socialite who triggered the inquiry that took down Petraeus complained about “paparazzi” in front of her mansion and “people calling me with threats.”
Jill Kelley, whose tip about harassing emails from the retired four-star general’s mistress Paula Broadwell sparked the FBI probe that revealed the affair, complained to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn in emails this week that she and her family were frightened by the worldwide attention they were receiving.
“I’m not sending my daughters to school today, and my husband slept at the hospital, because its just gotten too difficult to even pull out of our own driveway. And now, I have to deal with people calling me with threats,” Kelley wrote in one of several emails the mayor released on Friday.
“I’m scared and cannot believe what my city – in which I have contributed so much of my love, time, money and leadership – has now done to me and my innocent family,” she said.
Besides the affair, investigators uncovered a series of explicit emails between Kelley and another high-ranking military man she had met in her work as a volunteer social liaison at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa: General John Allen, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
The emails released by Buckhorn, which represent his communications with Kelley since he took office in April 2011, show Kelley as a cheerful, name-dropping party host and volunteer. Along with her cancer surgeon husband, she became cozy with Petraeus, Allen and several other military leaders who served at MacDill.
The emails also show that right up to the day before the sex scandal became public on Nov. 9, Kelley was using her connections to military leaders to cast herself as an influential community leader.
In a series of emails with Buckhorn in March, for example, Kelley told the mayor that Petraeus, Allen and Vice Admiral Robert Harward had sought her help in preventing a local disc jockey known as Bubba the Love Sponge from deep-frying a Koran.
The stunt – which never took place – was scheduled for roughly a year after a Florida pastor’s burning of a Koran led to protests and several deaths around the world.
Before the stunt this year was called off, Kelley told Buckhorn that her military friends had asked her to get involved to try to stop it.
“I have Petraeus & Allen both emailing me about getting this dealt with,” Kelley told Buckhorn in an email on March 7.
In a brief reply, Buckhorn said Tampa’s police chief was planning to talk to the radio station manager about the issue. “Ok. Can you keep me in the loop?” Kelley wrote back. “Gen Allen will be calling me from Afghanistan at 1 p.m. on this – and our next step.” Whether Petraeus, Allen and other military leaders actually called on Kelley in such matters could not be verified on Friday.
Buckhorn did not respond to a request for comment on Friday. Attempts to reach Kelley for comment have been unsuccessful.
A change in tone
In emails to Buckhorn, Kelley referred to herself as “Ambassador to US Central Command’s Coalition,” a position she told Buckhorn included hosting various distinguished visitors who traveled to Tampa.
The MacDill base is home to the US Central Command, which runs military operations in the Middle East and South Asia.