The Petraeus scandal continues to get stranger. The Wall Street Journal now reports that both Gen. John Allen–the leading candidate to command NATO in Europe–and the FBI agent who took up the initial investigation have been caught sending “inappropriate” emails to Florida socialite Jill Kelley. The FBI began the investigation over the summer after Kelley told them that she received harassing emails, which were eventually linked to Paula Broadwell. This is turning into a soap opera:
KABUL—U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Tuesday asked the Senate to put on hold the confirmation of the top commander in Afghanistan, Marine Gen. John Allen, as the new NATO supreme allied commander for Europe following the discovery of allegedly inappropriate communications between the general and a Tampa social planner.
The planner, Jill Kelley, is at the center of a scandal involving Gen. Allen’s predecessor as the top coalition commander in Kabul, Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned as CIA director last week after acknowledging an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. …
As part of this inquiry, the FBI also uncovered some 30,000 pages of emails between Ms. Kelley and Gen. Allen, a senior defense official told reporters traveling with Mr. Panetta. The official declined to say whether these allegedly inappropriate emails contained discussions of a sexual nature, or classified information, according to the Associated Press.
According to the Journal, the FBI agent (and whistle blower) reportedly sent Kelley shirtless photos:
The FBI agent who started the case was a friend of Jill Kelley, the Tampa woman who received harassing, anonymous emails that led to the probe, according to officials. Ms. Kelley, a volunteer who organizes social events for military personnel in the Tampa area, complained in May about the emails to a friend who is an FBI agent. That agent referred it to a cyber crimes unit, which opened an investigation.
However, supervisors soon became concerned that the initial agent might have grown obsessed with the matter, and prohibited him from any role in the investigation, according to the officials.
One official said the agent in question sent shirtless photos to Ms. Kelley well before the email investigation began, and FBI officials only became aware of them some time later. Eventually, supervisors told the agent he was to have nothing to do with the case, though he never had a formal role in the investigation, the official said.
Both of these stories are odd for different reasons. We don’t know what kind of “inappropriate” emails the married Gen. John Allen was sending to the married Jill Kelley. But assuming they were just of the romantic nature and included no security breaches, why did such an embarrassing revelation go public? It sounds like something that could have just as easily been swept under the rug by the FBI and the Pentagon. Military laws against adultery are rarely enforced, and there’s no indication as of now that adultery technically took place.
As for the second story, the allegations seem to be that the FBI agent sent a shirtless photo to Kelley, a friend of his, well before the investigation began. What is the point of leaking that detail to the media, other than to embarrass him publicly? Remember, this guy was the whistle blower who initially tipped off Eric Cantor about the investigation. Now he’s suddenly under investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility for reasons that are unclear at best? Very disturbing.