Jill Kelley released her memoir via an online vanity press

By Susan Keating
Updated March 29, 2016 05:00 PM
Credit: Amy Scherzer/Tampa Bay Times/ZUMA

The former “honorary ambassador” to a key U.S. military command reveals in a new book the salacious details surrounding her part in a 2012 scandal that brought down America’s top spy chief and a high-ranking military officer.

The author is Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, who figured prominently in a saga involving former CIA Director David Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell, with whom he had an affair. Kelley – who once acted as unofficial hostess for high ranking officials at Tampa-based Central Command – discloses the details in her memoir, Collateral Damage: Petraeus, Power, Politics, and the Abuse of Privacy. Kelley published her book this week via Lulu.com, an online vanity press.

Among the book’s claims: Petraeus told the FBI that he and Kelley “fondled” one another under the table while having dinner with their respective spouses at an elegant Washington, D.C., restaurant.

The admission is not true, Kelley writes, saying that the two merely felt one another’s thighs while comparing muscles as their spouses looked on with “tolerant amusement.” The incident reportedly took place in the Bourbon Steak lounge at the Georgetown Four Seasons.

Elsewhere, Kelley writes that Petraeus (a.k.a., “James Bond”) claimed in emails that Broadwell was stalking him, and told Kelley that he resigned his position as CIA chief because Broadwell threatened to expose their by-then concluded affair.

The scandal unfolded four years ago when Kelley told an FBI agent that she was receiving anonymous emails regarding Kelley’s friendship with Petraeus. When the emails were traced to Broadwell, Petraeus reportedly urged Kelley to call off the “g-men.”

By then, it was too late. An investigation was in full swing, and briefly would ensnare Marine General John Allen, then-commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, also an email correspondent with Kelley.

The investigation eventually would reveal that Petraeus and Broadwell – both married to other people – had been personally involved, and that Petraeus had shared with Broadwell notebooks containing classified information. In 2015, Petraeus pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified materials. He was fined $100,000 and sentenced to two years of probation.

Broadwell was not charged in the case.

Kelley was drawn into the scandal when her name was released to the press as being the victim in an ongoing investigation. She and her husband Scott Kelley later filed a lawsuit against the federal government for invasion of privacy. Last week, the Kelleys dropped their lawsuit.

The privacy lawsuit notwithstanding, Kelley dishes much in her new book, quoting private text messages and emails replete with sexual innuendo.

The emails, widely reported as appearing in Kelley’s book, portray Kelley sharing pet names and communicating closely with Petraeus and Allen.

In one email dated June 9, 2011, Kelley responded to Petraeus when he told her he was in Italy.

Kelley replied: ‘Rome!!!!! You mean my ‘home.’ Commander, You are SUCH a tease!!!! (I’m totally drooling)’

Kelley attributes other emails to Paula Broadwell.

One email sent to Scott and attributed to Broadwell reads, in part: “As her husband, you might want to examine your wife’s behavior and see if you can rein her in before we publicly share the pictures of her with her hand sliding between the legs of a senior serving official … ”

Reads another: “Be sure to watch Jill’s hands under the D.C. dinner table this Friday. They have been seen there before.”

Sources connected to Broadwell have said that Petraeus himself told Broadwell that Kelley had touched him, and jokingly challenged Broadwell get Kelley “to stop being indiscreet” with him.

Broadwell declined to comment for this story. Neither Petraeus nor Jill could be reached for comment.

Kelley has said that she wrote the book in order to create awareness of government overreach, referencing her claim that her privacy was violated through email searches and her name being leaked to the press.

Initial sales figures on Kelley’s book were not available from online vanity publisher Lulu.