Accused cyberstalker, mistress, and biographer of retired Gen. David Petraeus, Paula Broadwell, will not be indicted for harassing e-mails she anonymously sent about Tampa socialite Jill Kelley. This information was released in a letter dated December 14 from the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida, in which it was announced that the cyberstalking investigation is at an end. Broadwell’s attorney then passed the letter onto the media.
“We are pleased with the decision, and are pleased with the professionalism of the Tampa United States Attorney’s Office,” lawyer Robert Muse said in a statement released to the press.
The FBI investigation revealed the following: Broadwell was responsible for the anonymous email communiques being sent by “kelleypatrol”; Petraeus and Broadwell passed each other information using email drafts saved in an account both had access to; that Broadwell’s hard drives or email accounts contained sensitive information; and that Broadwell and Petraeus had been having an affair. Humpries, reportedly unhappy with the inquiry alone, took it a step further and brought the extra-marital affair and other details of the investigation, to the attention of Republican members of Congress. Legislators in turn, took their concerns to FBI Director, Robert Mueller in late October, who then passed the concerns onto Petraeus’ boss, Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. Soon thereafter, Petraeus resigned.
Questions remain as to whether or not Broadwell or anyone else will face additional charges of improperly receiving or using classified information. Inside sources say Broadwell’s attorneys have not been notified that she is the subject or target of any ongoing investigation, although this was the supposed reason for seizure of her personal computer by the FBI in November. Reuters reported that the computer contained “substantial classified information that should have been stored under more secure conditions.”
For the FBI to pursue a cyberstalking investigation against Broadwell, who used an anonymous e-mail account, “kelleypatrol,” to contact Florida-based military officers asserting that socialite Kelley was bad news, has been considered questionable. A former federal prosecutor told Danger Room that it was “highly irregular” for the FBI to undertake cases like this. It has been reported that Kelley informed her friend,Frederick W. Humphries II of the FBI, that an unidentified individual was harassing her via the Internet and the investigation began shortly thereafter.
Whatever the impetus for the now dropped investigation, the allegations of cyberstalking and the FBI’s investigation into it, ended Petraeus’ 14-month tenure as head of the C.I.A. and an otherwise impressive career. An investigation is currently underway by the CIA inspector general to determine whether Petraeus used his CIA resources to conduct his affair. Marine Gen. John Allen was likely going to be nominated to become the new NATO commander, however, it seems the nomination is not to be as an inspector general at the Department of Defense is poring over allegedly “flirtatious” emails between Allen and Kelley to see if Afghanistan war commander violated military restrictions on adultery.
Broadwell it seems, has cleared a major legal hurdle, but the more serious charge of mishandling classified information is still under investigation. Since the news broke, Broadwell and Petraeus have been the butt of jokes across the nation and the world. Their personal and professional lives, as well as those of others, have been forever altered. Reputations and relationships have been damaged, perhaps beyond repair.
I’m left wondering whether or not Petraeus and Broadwell would think twice about having an affair in the first place if they knew then what they know now? Or would they simply think twice about how they carried out that affair? Would they use the email draft method to communicate? Would they share classified information via email? And how is it that Broadwell, a seemingly intelligent, capable, and successful woman as Broadwell could have such a monumental lapse in judgment? Whatever possessed her to send those anonymous emails? Obviously they were spurred by some kind of jealousy or rivalry, but that does not explain why someone who is clearly smart could do something so…not smart. It boggles the mind.