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Updated Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 09:26 AM

Lawyer for Jill Kelley threatens lawsuit over leaks in Petraeus case

By Sari Horwitz
The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — The Washington attorney representing the Tampa, Fla., socialite at the center of the sex scandal that prompted David Petraeus' resignation as CIA director threatened to take legal action against the U.S. attorney in Tampa if he or other federal officials leak information about his client.

In a letter to U.S. Attorney Stephen Muldrow, attorney Abbe Lowell accused federal officials of leaking Jill Kelley's name to the media along with information about the Tampa FBI agent who went outside the bureau to alert a Republican congressman about the FBI investigation.

"These leaks most certainly had to come, at least in part, from government sources," Lowell wrote in a letter provided to The Washington Post. "I write to ask whether the Department of Justice is investigating these leaks and potential infringements upon the Kelleys' privacy ... as part of its current work."

Kelley's complaint to the FBI agent last summer about harassing emails she was receiving launched the investigation that eventually linked the messages to author Paula Broadwell and uncovered the extramarital affair between Broadwell and Petraeus, a retired four-star general.

In the course of the investigation, the FBI uncovered emails between Kelley and Gen. John Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. A senior U.S. defense official has said that those emails contained "potentially inappropriate" communications between Allen and Kelley.

Kelley met both Petraeus and Allen when they served at the U.S. Central Command in Tampa.

A person close to Kelley said Tuesday that she is a prolific e-mailer and that she exchanged perhaps 1,000 emails with Allen. The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because Allen is under investigation by the Defense Department, said that some exchanges were "taken out of context, could be read to be flirtatious" but that the characterization of them as " 'phone sex' is not true."

The person also said that Kelley did not have an affair with Petraeus or Allen.

In addition to causing Petraeus' resignation, the FBI investigation led to evidence that Broadwell had obtained classified information.

Allen replaced Petraeus as commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan in 2011 when Petraeus became CIA director. Allen has been selected by the White House to become supreme allied commander in Europe, but the nomination was put on hold after the FBI gave over emails between the general and Kelley to the Defense Department.


CHRIS O'MEARA / AP
Tampa socialite Jill Kelley called a prolific emailer.




GERRY BROOME / AP
Tampa socialite Jill Kelley has hired Lowell as her attorney. Lowell on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, released emails, telephone recordings and other material that he and Kelley say proves she never tried to exploit her friendship with Gen. David Petraeus.




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