Nov 12 Jill Kelley is a fixture on the Tampa,
Florida, military scene, volunteering for community relations
work with foreign military officers and their families stationed
at MacDill Air Force base.
She is also a friend of David Petraeus, and yet, she appears
to have contributed to his stunning downfall and departure as
director of the CIA.
It was Kelley's complaints about harassing emails from the
woman with whom Petraeus had an extramarital affair, Paula
Broadwell, that prompted an FBI investigation that later exposed
the liaison and led to his resignation last week.
People close to Petraeus have said Kelley is a family friend
and that there was no romantic relationship. It's unclear why
Broadwell would have sent threatening emails to her, but she may
have seen her as a rival for Petraeus' affections, the same
people said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The scandal has tarnished the reputation of a revered
general and raised questions about how the FBI handled the
situation and when the White House learned of the affair, which
became public after the Nov. 6 presidential election.
It has also brought uncomfortable attention to three women
in Petraeus' life: Kelley, Broadwell and his wife of more than
37 years, Holly, an official with the Consumer Financial
Kelley and her husband, Scott Kelley, a Tampa cancer
surgeon, became friends with Petraeus when he was stationed at
MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa from 2008 until 2010, people
familiar with the situation said.
At the time, Petraeus was commander of the U.S. military's
Central Command, which runs operations in the Middle East and
South Asia. The two families socialized in Tampa and in
Washington, the people said.
Unlike Broadwell, who has been silent and out of public view
since the story broke on Friday, Kelley has put out a statement
on her family's friendship with the Petraeuses and asked that
her family's privacy be respected.
A source close to the family said that Kelley is now being
advised on how to respond to the Petraeus uproar by one of
Washington's most prominent trial lawyers, Abbe Lowell, a family
friend who has represented high-profile criminal defendants like
former U.S. Senator John Edwards and disgraced Republican
lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Lowell did not respond to requests for
Kelley has also enlisted the help of Judy Smith, a
well-known crisis PR manager who is the model for the
ultra-effective fixer and spin doctor Olivia Pope in the ABC
Thursday night TV drama "Scandal."
Kelley could not be reached for comment. She was spotted
driving away from her Tampa home on Monday in a car with
"Honorary Consul" on the license plate. She is considered an
unofficial ambassador at the MacDill base, promoting community
relations with foreign liaison officers, said a source familiar
with the situation.
Kelley is the daughter of Marcelle and John Khawam, now of
Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, but with roots in the
Northeast section of Philadelphia, said her brother, David
Khawam, a lawyer who practices in Westmont, New Jersey. The
Lebanese-born parents owned three restaurants, all called
Sahara, when their children were growing up.
Kelley's vocation has been to be an "honorary ambassador" to
the military, her brother said. "She has always wanted to take a
certain role, in giving back to the community," he said.
He said it's not surprising she would go to the FBI after
receiving threatening emails from an unknown source, considering
her connections to the military and the fact that she has a
wealthy husband and young children.
"I believe my sister probably reported this because of fear
that somebody may be serious in any kind of threats they may be
making towards her," he said.
FBI AGENT REPORTEDLY BARRED FROM CASE
The Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI agent who
started the investigation was a friend of Kelley's. He was later
barred from taking part in the case over concerns that he had
become personally involved. Officials found that he had sent
shirtless pictures to Kelley, the Journal reported.
The agent's identity has not been disclosed.
Kelley, 37, also has an identical twin sister, Natalie
Khawam, with whom she appears with Holly and David Petraeus and
her husband in a 2010 photo published in newspapers on Monday.
Court records show Kelley played a role in a bitter child
custody trial that preceded the divorce case between Khawam, and
Khawam's then-husband, Grayson Wolfe of Washington, who once
worked for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.
In a scathing decision in November, 2011 against Khawam that
granted sole primary and legal custody of their then 3-year-old
son to Wolfe, District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Neal
Kravitz refused to believe Kelley's claims that Wolfe had tried
to push her sister down a flight of steps in Kelley's Tampa
"The court does not credit this testimony," Kravitz wrote,
calling Kelley "a patently biased and unbelievable witness."
Neither Wolfe nor Khawam could be reached for comment.
Broadwell, 40, who sources said sent the threatening emails
to Kelley, is an Army reserve officer and doctoral student who
lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and two
FBI agents searched Broadwell's home on Monday, entering the
house carrying boxes and remaining there for almost two hours.
There was no sign that Broadwell or members of her family were
at the house during the FBI search.
Broadwell met Petraeus in 2006 when she was student at
Harvard. The general gave her his card and offered to help with
In 2010 when Petraeus was named commander in Afghanistan,
she decided to turn a dissertation about his leadership into a
book, called "All In," which was published in January.
Interviews for the book often took place during runs together,
Broadwell said later.
A person who knows Broadwell and Petraeus said she stood out
in Afghanistan as an "alpha woman" who was attractive, fit,
smart and driven. It was not unusual for Petraeus to mentor
younger soldiers and take an interest in scholarly work, said
Broadwell has not responded to requests for comment.
It is not clear how much Holly Petraeus and Broadwell have
interacted. In the book's acknowledgements, Broadwell gives
"special thanks" to Holly, but no interviews are listed with her
in the notes.
The book describes how Petraeus and Hollister "Holly"
Knowlton, a student at Dickinson College, first met on a blind
date in 1973 at a college football game at West Point, where
Petraeus was a cadet. Holly's father, General William Knowlton,
was the superintendent at West Point, and Petraeus found the
"stature of Holly's family intoxicating," the book says.
Holly has been a dedicated military spouse who endured her
husband's extended absences over the past decade, said Peter
Mansoor, who was Petraeus' executive officer in Iraq from 2007
"They've been apart more time than they have been together,
with him being overseas on five different deployments," Mansoor
said. "She was a stalwart Army trooper through it all."
At the Senate hearing on confirmation of his appointment at
the CIA in June 2011, some senators, including John McCain and
Joe Lieberman, paid tribute to Holly, as did Petraeus.
"Holly was recently described as being bright, nice, small
and a pit bull, someone you want in your corner," Petraeus said.
"I've been blessed to have had her in my corner for some 37
years and 23 moves, and I appreciate the opportunity this
afternoon to recognize her publicly."
Since January 2011, Holly Petraeus has led an office that
advocates for military families at the Consumer Financial
Jean Ann Fox of the Consumer Federation of America, said
Holly Petraeus has traveled all over the country to talk to
service members and has a reputation for spending time with
families and talking about her own experiences and observations
as a military spouse.
"She has shined a light on a lot of problems that impact the
military, and hopefully as time goes on, enforcement actions
will help take care of some of that," Fox said.
A Consumer Financial Protection Bureau spokeswoman said
Holly Petraeus remains a key leader at the agency and would have
no further comment. She posted a Veteran's Day message on the
bureau's website on Friday, the same day her husband's
resignation became public.
Mansoor, trying to explain David Petraeus' behavior, said he
believes he might have struggled with the social transition from
his life in a military "cocoon" to his work at the CIA.
"I think that General Petraeus found himself a little bit
isolated socially at the CIA and his manner of reaching out was
through the person who made herself the most available to him
and that was Paula Broadwell," Mansoor said.
Holly Petraeus is furious with her husband, said Mansoor.
"He's going to do what he can to repair his relationship," he