Jill Kelley: Military Liaison and Whistleblower in Petraeus Scandal

Everything you need to know about the second woman at the center of the scandal that brought down CIA director David Petraeus.

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Chris O'Meara / AP
Chris O'Meara / AP

Jill Kelley leaves her home Monday, Nov 12, 2012 in Tampa, Fla.

As whole baskets of dirty laundry are newly aired in the ongoing scandal that prompted the resignation of CIA director David Petraeus, attention is increasingly focusing on a Florida woman named Jill Kelley.

Petraeus, a former Army General and the architect of U.S. strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan,  resigned from his CIA post after admitting to an affair, allegedly with his biographer Paula Broadwell. It now appears that Kelley played a key role in bringing their relationship to light. The Tampa-based military liaison and longtime friend of the Petraeus family reportedly reached out to a contact at the FBI after receiving email threats from Broadwell.

Now, the 37-year-old Kelley has been implicated in a possibly inappropriate relationship with a top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. The FBI is currently investigating a slew of emails between her and Marine Corps General John Allen – “20,000 to 30,000 pages of emails” exchanged between 2010 and 2012, messages that have been called “flirtatious” by a senior defense official. Allen was poised to become Supreme Allied Commander Europe this week, but his nomination has been put on hold in light of the widening scandal. Both he and Kelley, who has retained a lawyer and a team of crisis management advisers, have denied any wrongdoing.

Fast Facts about Jill Kelley:

  • Works as an unpaid social liaison at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. (via Business Insider)
  • Lives with her husband Scott and three young daughters in a $1.2 million mansion on Bayshore Boulevard in South Tampa. (via Tampa Bay Times)
  • Has been friends with the Petraeus family from the time when David Petraeus was leader of the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base between 2008 and 2010. (via Gawker)
  • Met the Petraeuses through her charitable work for military families in Tampa. (via CBS)

Brian Blanco / Reuters

The house belonging to Jill Kelley, a friend of the Petraeus family, is seen on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, Florida November 12, 2012.

  • Was a frequent guest at U.S. Central Command functions.
  • Regularly kept in touch with Petraeus after he became the commander of the Afghanistan war effort and moved away from Tampa. The two exchanged emails and instant messages on a daily basis, though the messages were not romantic in nature and were sent using monitored accounts. (via AP)
  • Bragged that she had been named “honorary consulate general to South Korea” in September.

(MORE: Petraeus Scandal Ensnares Top Afghan Commander)

  • Her husband, Dr. Scott Kelley, is a prominent cancer surgeon at the Watson Clinic in Lakeland, Fla.
  • Known to host glamorous parties at her home in Tampa.
  • Has hired Abbe Lowell, one of the attorneys who defended John Edwards earlier this year on corruption charges.

(TWO-MIN BIO: Paula Broadwell: Petraeus’ Biographer and Alleged Mistress)

  • Also hired Judy Smith, a Washington, D.C. public relations executive and a former spokesperson for George W. Bush, who also represented Monica Lewinsky after her affair with Bill Clinton.
  • Kelley appeared on the Food Network’s reality program Food Fight in 2003. (via St. Petersburg Times)
  • Grew up in Philadelphia after her family emigrated from Lebanon and opened a Middle Eastern restaurant. (via Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Her father, John Khawam, was a renowned organist in Lebanon.
  • Has a twin sister, Natalie Khawam, who was involved in a custody dispute with ex-husband Grayson Wolfe over their four-year-old son. Both Petraeus and Allen are said to have intervened in the custody battle, writing letters on behalf of Khawam (allegedly at Kelley’s behest) to reverse a judge’s ruling that denied her custody. In the ruling, the judge supposedly called Khawam a “psychologically unstable person.” (via New York Post)


  • “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.” (A statement released Nov. 11 by the Kelley family)
  • “I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m the victim here. But it still feels awful.” (In a telephone conversation with her brother David Khawam, a N.J. lawyer, via Washington Post)


  • Regarding her relationship with Petraeus: “They attended events together. They spend Christmas at each other’s homes. There was nothing untoward. No affair-like thing between them. They were strictly friends.” (Steven Boylan, Petraeus’s public affairs officer in Iraq in 2007 and 2008, via Washington Post)
  • “She would say he was kind of like a grandpa to her girls.” (an unnamed friend of Kelley’s, via The Telegraph)

MORE: The Petraeus Affair: Lessons for the Kids


Women are cheating all over the place, nowadays!  (Rita Ora, Kristen Stewart, Petraeus women,Givens/Pitt).    This is actually a great opportunity for a greater cultural discussion on the radical uptick in female infidelity.

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Check it out now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble!! It's VERY POPULAR! People are loving it and it's selling FAST!Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/11/14/whos-who-in-the-general-petraeus-love-pentagon-scandal/#ixzz2EVGTFQJt


I hope to God that there is some good reason that we are subjected to this story which is getting more and more like Housewives of Atlanta than news.  As we tip towards WWIII if this is just some sort of catfight gone international and has no other merit than to undercover who's in bed with which General- and motivated by political sour grapes- then we're being slimed.  And- I'm sure it's high priced slime- taxpayer purchased slime.


Seems to me she's stepping out in a different coloured high fashion dress each day of this unfolding scandal, and perhaps is enjoying the attention!  I don't think they'll find evidence of an affair between her and Gen Allen.


Also, Jill Kelleys sister, Natalie, works for a Whistleblower Law Firm.


"Let's You and Him Fight"  + Paula Broadwell & Jill KelleyI think about this one fromtime to time. I inadvertently became intimately and acutely aware of the gamemany years ago.Since Eric Berne first discovered and labeled the gameI've thought of it having different variations outside of its initialappreciation. See below, "Let's You and Him Fight" In theWorkplace - I'm thinking we may be seeing this game played out at amaster's level by PaulaDean Broadwell & JillKelley Here in the metro a few years ago we had a married gal playing thisgame at an evil level with the result being her husband was led by her to thekilling of her paramour. I'm guessing neither the husband or paramour realizedthe puppet roles they were playing.The basic game:Let's You and Him Fight (LYAHF): A Sexual Game   From Games People Playby Dr. Eric Bernehttp://www.ericberne.com/games/games_people_play_LYAHF.htmThe following is a brief description of the Sexual GameLet's You and Him Fight (LYAHF) from Games People Play by Dr. Eric Berne.This may be a maneuver, a ritual or a game. In each case the psychology isessentially feminine. Because of its dramatic qualities, LYAHF is the basis ofmuch of the world's literature, both good and bad.1. As a maneuver it is romantic. The woman maneuver or challenges two meninto fighting, with the implication or promise that she will surrender herselfto the winner. After the competition is decided, she fulfils her bargain. Thisis an honest transaction, and the presumption is that her and her mate livehappily ever after.2. As a ritual, it tends to be tragic. Custom demands that the two menfight for her, even if she does not want them to, and even if she has alreadymade her choice. If the wrong man wins, she must nevertheless take him. In thiscase it is society and not the woman who sets up LYAHF. If she is unwilling, thetransaction is an honest one. If she is unwilling or disappointed, the outcomemay offer her considerable scope for playing games, such as 'Let's Pull A Fastone on Joey'.3. As a game it is comic. The woman sets up the competition, and while thetwo men are fighting, she decamps with a third. The internal and externalpsychological advantages for her and her mate are derived from the position thathonest competition is for suckers, and the comic story they have lived throughforms the basis for the internal and external social advantages.For more information on this game, refer to GamesPeople Play by Dr. Eric Berne, available on Amazon.com and otherbookstores.  This text was reproduced with the permission of Random House Incand the estate of Dr. Eric Berne.  Reproduction of this text or any othercopyrighted material is prohibited."Let's You and Him Fight" - In the Workplacehttp://www.kellevision.com/kellevision/2009/03/lets-you-and-him-fight-in-the-office.htmlIn his book, "GamesPeople Play", Dr. Eric Berne describes the game of "Let's You and HimFight".  I see this game played out all the time in office politics.  Let's say"Joe" is upset about something that has happened in the office, usuallysomething done by the boss or someone in a position above him.  He goes to hiscolleagues, Sam and Maria, to vent his frustration and to ask for advice.  Whatdoes he get?   Sympathy, for sure.  What advice may Sam and Maria provide?  "Youshould file a grievance."  "You should go have it out with the person."  "Youshould confront them about that."  "You need to stand up for yourself."  But isthis really the best advice?Not always.What I see a lot of times are colleagues who are bored and subconsciouslyrelish the idea of something getting started that they can sit back and watch -comfortably out of the line of fire.  Now this is usually subconscious.  Theperson Joe is having a problem with is probably intimidating to or problematicfor Sam and Maria as well.  Sam and Maria may secretly hope to see the personchallenged.  They may wish they could stand up to them, but are afraid to forfear of committing career suicide or experiencing other repercussions.  So theyurge Joe to do it instead.  And they may do it with gusto - until Joe asks themto join him in fighting back.  Then all the air goes out of them.  They havesense enough not to get themselves involved in this brouhaha, but encouragetheir colleague to go for it.Another version of the game is played with someone who often plays theScapegoat role.  Carl is upset about a new policy implemented at work.  He takeshis frustration to his colleagues, Ed and Julia.  Now Ed was not originallyupset by the new policy.  Julia was as incensed as Carl.  Julia and Carlcomplain about it with Ed and Ed starts to become incensed as well.  Julia andCarl believe that "someone" should stand up to this nonsense and put their footdown.  "Someone" should march in there and talk to the boss and let them knowthat this is taking it too far.  "Someone" should point out how unfair the newpolicy is to employees.  "No one" should have to work in this kind ofenvironment.  Ed gets worked up, marches into the boss' office and let's herknow how unfair he thinks this is.  He states that everyone feels this way andthat he believes the policy should be changed.  The boss comes out of her officeand asks how everyone else feels about this.  Julia and Carl smile and say theyare fine with it.  Ed is now labeled a troublemaker by the boss and his careermay be hurt.  And for something he didn't even initially care about.  Carl andJulia are now mad at him for "outing" what they were saying to the boss.  Theyreally wanted him to take on the fight by himself and leave them out of it.  Howdid Ed fall into this trap?  Ed is probably the "Scapegoat" in most of hisrelationships and has played out this same role before.Do colleagues do this on purpose?  Does Ed purposely take on this role?Absolutely not.  But it's human nature and most of the behaviors are functioningon the subconscious level.  What can you do?1.  Beware of colleagues who try to incite you to fight a battlethey are not willing to participate in.2.  Always be aware of whether you actually cared about this issuebefore talking with your coworkers.  If you didn't, it's not yourissue.  It's theirs.  Leave it with them.If you constantly find yourself in Ed's shoes you may want to read moreabout the Scapegoat role at work.  The book, "Scapegoatsat Work:  Taking the Bull's-Eye Off Your Back", by John M. Dyckman is anexcellent resource for learning more about this detrimental role.


Kelley is no whiselblower.  Funny, that Gen, Allen got the emails first and then warned Kelley.  Ask yourself this.  how does a Lebanese born  woman become the honorary consul to Korea and confident to two US top generals? 


I think you are a nut Christof....


"A little digging, and pretty soon you will find that in fact Broadwell is her married name; her maiden name is Paula Kranz. Once again, we find a pretty Jewish girl (like Monica Lewinsky) in the thick of things at the highest levels of America’s executive machine. Remember, Natenyahu was Israel’s Prime Minister during the Lewinsky case too. Patraeus was seduced like good old Bill Clinton – and caught in an Israeli web. How brilliant of the Israeli’s to plant her as ‘his biographer’ assigned by his Jewish publishers…she would have close contact with a lonely general in the desert in Iraq, and then follow him to Washington, all in the cause of writing a book. Witnesses recount them taking 5 mile runs into dark corners of the base! "Looks like the goal here is to weaken President Obama. More dirty tricks... only problme for Mossad is that now a bunch of operatives like these ladies will come to the light. In this rerspect one can understand the remarks of Kissinger that Israel will be history within 10 years.


@ChristofSchumann OMG -this is the best tinfoil hat conspiracy theory I've read so far!  Broadwell becomes the 'Mata Hari' of the US Central Command!