The woman who allegedly helped trigger a federal investigation of retired General David Petraeus has a Philadelphia connection, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.
The Daily News reports Jill Kelley, 37, grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and lived in the area until her mid-20s. NBC10 also learned Kelley graduated from Lower Moreland High School in the early 90s. Law enforcement officials say Kelley, a family friend of Petraeus, sent a complaint to the FBI last summer which launched the investigation into Petraeus’ affair.
Kelley complained to the FBI about anonymous, harassing emails from someone she did not know, according to NBC News.
"She took real issue with it," said Kelley's brother, David Khawam, an attorney in Westmont, N.J. "And when she took issue with it, she didn't realize that this was going to spark a maelstrom."
NBC News reports the FBI traced those emails to Paula Broadwell, Petraeus’ biographer. Officials say they then stumbled on other emails that indicated a romantic relationship between Petraeus and Broadwell.
According to a friend and former top aide, Petraeus told him the affair began with Broadwell in 2011, two months after he became CIA director. Petraeus resigned as CIA director last week after acknowledging the affair. He has been married 38 years to Holly Petraeus, with whom he has two adult children, including a son who led an infantry platoon in Afghanistan as an Army lieutenant. The stunning revelations about the extramarital activities of Petraeus, a retired four-star general and perhaps the nation's most revered military figure, has sparked an outcry in Congress over allegations that the FBI did not inform lawmakers about the probe in a timely fashion.
Broadwell, a 40-year-old graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and an Army Reserve officer, is married with two young sons. Broadwell allegedly sent Kelley harassing emails which led federal investigators to discover Petraeus’ extramarital relationship with Broadwell.
According to the military official, Kelley serves as an unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where the military's Central Command and Special Operations Command are located. Staffers for Petraeus said Kelley and her husband were regular guests at events he held at Central Command headquarters when he was in charge there.
A U.S. official said the coalition countries represented at Central Command gave Kelley an appreciation certificate on which she was referred to as an ”honorary ambassador'' to the coalition, but she has no official status and is not employed by the U.S. government.
In a statement Sunday, Kelley and her husband, Scott, said: “We and our family have been friends with Gen. Petraeus and his family for over five years. We respect his and his family's privacy and want the same for us and our three children.''
The military official who identified Kelley spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation. He said Kelley had received harassing emails from Broadwell, which led the FBI to examine her email account and eventually discover her relationship with Petraeus. It was not clear what led Broadwell to send the emails to Kelley.
A former associate of Petraeus confirmed the target of the emails was Kelley, and said there was no affair between the two, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the retired general's private life. The associate said Kelley and her husband were longtime friends of Petraeus and his wife.
The Daily News reports that Kelley’s parents came to the Philadelphia area in the mid 1970s and ran a Middle Eastern restaurant in Voorhees, N.J. Khawam tells NBC10 he's outraged by headlines suggesting his sister also had an affair with Petraeus.
"It's completely ridiculous," said Khawam. "Now I know I'm her brother so it sounds like I have a bias. But my sister, number one, is a mother. She has three kids and she's extremely dedicated to those kids. Number two, she's a wife. And she's extremely dedicated to her husband and he to her. So for her to have an affair with General Petraeus is completely ludicrous. She's been friends with him."
Kelley left her home Sunday night along with her three kids after facing a barrage of media. Kelley's parents currently live in Washington Crossing. No one answered when NBC10 went to their home on Monday. Khawam says they're distressed for their daughter. He also says his recent communication with his sister has been brief.
"The conversations I've had with her were basically, 'I love you and we're here for you for whatever you need,'" said Khawam. "This is something that's going to brand her for life."