Remember when it came out that former CIA Director David Petraeus was having that extramarital affair with his biographer? And how Jill Kelley supposedly gave him a handjob under the table at the Four Seasons too? Now, she’s writing a book to clear her name (and her hands):
“Let me be clear: I never groped CIA Director General David Petraeus. That’s absurd. It did not happen. And if it did, why would I go to the FBI if I were having an affair with the director of the CIA? That’s even more absurd,” she writes according to CNN.
If you’re like me and needed a refresher on the Petraeus scandal, here’s a quick recap. But in summary, Petraeus, married with children, began a hot and heavy affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell, also married with children, during which she learned classified information about the military.
At the time, he was also hanging out with “Tampa socialite” Jill Kelley, also married, who allegedly gave him a hand job under a Four Seasons restaurant table. Broadwell wasn’t pleased with this, and sent Kelley, her husband and another military dude named General John Allen threatening and creepy emails from anonymous email addresses.
Kelley asked her old boo—an FBI employee only identified by his pectorals from a topless photo he sent Kelley way before the scandal—to look into the emails, revealing Broadwell as the sender. Then, somehow, that man told Eric Cantor, then-House majority leader, and then the scandal become public.
In her new book Collateral Damage: Petraeus/Power/Politics and the Abuse of Privacy, Kelley says she never “acted inappropriately” with Petraeus. But Petraeus, on the other hand, said that the hand job did happen and that it was “mutual.”
“Little did I know that Petraeus had already tried to mitigate the investigation on Broadwell during his FBI interview a few weeks before. I later learned from reporters that Petraeus was advised that if he misrepresented my relationship with him, his mistress would be spared from jail time. He probably thought that if he played along with the narrative, everything would work out for her. Apparently, it worked — — but only for her. I say this because it has been asserted through government leaks that I inappropriately touched Petraeus.”
Before she learned that detail, she describes Petraeus as her “my best friend, my avatar, my ‘id’, my twin brother.” She adds that his wife Holly and her own husband Dr. Scott Kelley were cc’d on some of their emails, so they couldn’t have been cheating, right?
Kelley also writes about how the government released her name to the press during the scandal, which she says violated her privacy; they also read her emails that had nothing to do with Petraeus, she says. She later sued the U.S. government over violation of privacy rights, but dropped her case earlier this month.
To clarify, Kelley explains the alleged hand job dinner at the Four Seasons as a drunken night: she and her husband were there, as were Petraeus and his wife, and Kelley’s sister and her boyfriend. The harmless night led to Broadwell sending Allen an odd email from Kelleypatrol@gmail.com warning him not to let her “charm” him “under the table… like she does [with] other four-star officers.”
Here’s Kelley’s retelling of the dinner:
Kelley and Petraeus would joke about their athletic ambitions, she explains, and at this dinner they “tested each other’s muscles to see who had the hardest quadriceps, while our spouses looked on in tolerant amusement as they understood our athletic competitiveness. Perhaps a bit tipsy, David got a little enthusiastic comparing our quads.”
At another point that evening, she writes: “There was too much alcohol flowing that day. Leaning toward me, David sloppily spilled wine on my dress.”
Kelley thought little of any of it, she insists, but she also includes an email from Petraeus a week later in which he wrote they “can’t repeat events of the latter part of the dinner last Saturday night. OK?”
She wrote back “Yup! But no need to apologize for spilling your drink on me, Bond. No big deal.”
Broadwell’s friends also told CNN that Petraeus asked for her help dodging Kelley, prompting her to send emails to Kelley’s husband.
“As her husband, you might want to examine your wife’s behavior and see if you can rein her in before we publicly share the pictures of her with her hand sliding between the legs of a senior serving official (while at a DC restaurant). (You might actually question why she travels to DC so often, and ensure she is supervised when alone with senior government including SOCOM and CENTCOM officials... Her continued inappropriate and suggestive behavior will otherwise become an embarrassment to all. This info genuinely shared and I hope that such embarrassment for all, including spouses, such as info in national headlines, maybe averted.”
The emails kept coming, becoming progressively weirder until the FBI found Broadwell was behind them, and launched an investigation into the emails of everyone involved.
By August, Petraeus asked Kelley not to press charges against Broadwell, saying she was just jealous of her beauty and that he’d told her to stop stalking Kelley. They even had secret conversations on the Potomac River, a scene straight out of House of Cards:
After out-paddling his security detail, Kelley asked him: “David, how could you have trusted this woman with your career and reputation? She’s going to destroy everything you work your entire life for!”
“Jill,” he replied, “This is out of control. She is so out of control. I don’t know what to do, but you need to call off the Feds.”
In 2012, Petraeus resigned and later pled guilty to “mishandling classified materials by allowing Broadwell access to eight personal notebooks that included, among other classified matters, the identities of covert officers.” He was given two years of probation and a $100,000 fine.
Kelley says her name is ruined and that her self-published book is meant to tell the public about the government’s gross overreach and disregard of her privacy without punishment. It’s still hard to believe that this is all a true story and not a TV plot, but here we are.
Image via Getty.