The investigation into the intimate affair with Paula Broadwell that brought down former four-star general and former CIA Director David Petraeus has now expanded further into the military, with the possibility of court martial.
On Monday night, with her consent, FBI agents appeared at Broadwell’s house in Charlotte, North Carolina, to carry out their investigation. After five hours, the FBI seized a Dell PC, an iMac, a briefcase, a printer, several plastic storage boxes, and snapped a lot of photographs.
The FBI’s criminal investigation began in the summer of 2011 at the prompting of Jill Kelley, a family friend of David Petraeus who received a series of anonymous threatening e-mails, which she passed on to a friend who works at the FBI.
The FBI determined the e-mails to have been sent from a computer belonging to Paula Broadwell, which she willingly handed over to the FBI. On it, investigators not only found those e-mails, but also hundreds of other e-mails of an intimate nature between Broadwell and Petraeus.
Classified information was also found on her computer, although it has yet to be determined where or how she obtained that information. The FBI concluded it did not come from Petraeus.
Investigators do not expect any charges to be filed over Broadwell’s harassing e-mails to Kelley or that any charges will be filed against Petraeus, but no word has yet been said if the FBI has concluded its investigation of Broadwell. The overriding question for investigators is how Broadwell obtained the classified information found on her computer.
Although there is not yet any evidence implicating Petraeus as the source of the classified information found on Broadwell’s computer, Petraeus could potentially face a court-martial over his affair, although this is unlikely.
While Petraeus is a retired Army general and a civilian, most recently director of the CIA, he is still subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). According to regulations, if an officer is drawing retired pay, they can be called back on active duty to face charges at court-martial. Since adultery is a crime in the military, it is possible, although unlikely, that General Petraeus could face legal action.
Gary Solis, a former Marine prosecutor, judge advocate, and now an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University, told the Washington Post, “I’ve never seen adultery charged as a stand-alone offense.”
Eugene R. Fidell, who teaches military law at Yale University, also told the Post, “it’s very unlikely he would be disciplined, for either current or past conduct.” Petraeus would face court-martial over the affair only if he were in active duty at the time, such as the newly developing situation with U.S. Army General John Allen, the current top NATO commander in Afghanistan.
The FBI investigation took an unexpected turn when investigators uncovered a slew of “inappropriate” e-mails of a sexual persuasion exchanged between General Allen and Jill Kelley.
Kelley, 37, befriended David and Holly Petraeus at MacDill Air Force Base, the location of U.S. Central Command, near Tampa, Florida. The Voice of America (VOA) confirmed that she is also serving as an honorary consul for the Republic of Korea’s (ROK; South Korea) foreign ministry in Florida.
Kelley is also credited with helping secure support for the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement, and “she arranged meeting between the ROK Ambassador to Washington and local businessmen when the ROK Ambassador visited the Tampa area,” according to Foreign Policy magazine.
Kelley exchanged hundreds, if not thousands, of e-mails with General Allen, who reportedly referred to her as “sweetheart.” Preliminary descriptions of the Kelley-Allen e-mails range from innocuous to “like phone sex.”
According to the New York Times, “Pentagon officials briefed on the content of the e-mails said some of the language did, on initial reading, seem ‘overly flirtatious’ and warranted further inquiry.” The Times further stated, “An inappropriate communication could violate military rules.”
For now, it is yet to be determined whether Allen will face court martial and it remains unlikely that Petraeus will.
On the other hand, Petraeus has willingly consented to testify before the House and Senate intelligence committees. He was originally slated to testify Thursday over the terrorist attack on the U.S. mission and apparent CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, which led to the death of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.
When the official announcement came of Petraeus’ resignation last Friday, it was also announced that he would not testify, at least not for the time being. This sparked speculation over a possible coverup, which is yet to be determined, but in an attempt to sanitize the situation Petraeus will indeed testify before Congress. He is expected to speak off-site to the Senate Intelligence Committee this coming Friday.
Photo of U.S. General John Allen: AP Images