Biographer’s ‘harassing’ mails to woman led FBI to Petraeus
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The FBI investigation that led to the sudden resignation of David H Petraeus as CIA director on Friday began with a complaint several months ago about "harassing" e-mails sent by Paula Broadwell, Petraeus's biographer, to another woman who knows both of them, two government officials briefed on the case said Saturday.
When FBI agents, following up on the complaint, began to examine Broadwell's e-mails, they discovered exchanges between her and Petraeus that revealed that they were having an affair, said several officials. They also discovered that Broadwell possessed certain classified information, one official said, but apparently concluded that it was probably not Petraeus who had given it to her and that there had been no major breach of security. No leak charges are expected to be filed as a result of the investigation.
The identity of the woman who complained about the harassing messages from Broadwell has not been disclosed. She was not a family member or in the government, the officials said, and the nature of her relationship with Petraeus was not immediately known. But they said the two women seemed be competing for Petraeus's loyalty, if not his affection.
One Congressional official who was briefed on the matter said senior intelligence officials explained that the FBI investigation "started with two women" — evidently Broadwell and the woman who complained about her e-mails. "It didn't start with Petraeus, but in the course of the investigation they stumbled across him," said the Congressional official. "We were stunned."
Broadwell has made no statement since the affair became public on Friday, and attempts to reach her for comment have been unsuccessful.
The circumstances surrounding the collapse of Petraeus's career remain murky. It is not clear when Attorney General Eric H Holder Jr or Robert S. Mueller III, director of the FBI, became aware that the FBI's investigation into Broadwell's e-mails had brought to light compromising information about Petraeus. Tracy Schmaler, a spokeswoman for Holder, declined to comment Saturday.
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