Lover's e-mails to rival led FBI to CIA chief Petraeus

Affair exposed after probe into mistress's harassing messages to her apparent rival

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 November, 2012, 11:00am

The plot surrounding the resignation of CIA chief David Petraeus over an extramarital affair thickened yesterday with reports that his alleged lover had sent e-mails to a second woman seen as a threat to her love interest.

The scandal started with harassing e-mails sent by Petraeus's biographer and paramour, Paula Broadwell, to another woman, who was reportedly so frightened that she went to the FBI several months ago for protection and to help track down the sender.

An FBI probe led agents to Broadwell's e-mail account, which uncovered the relationship with Petraeus, 60, a former four-star general who earned acclaim for his leadership of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The identity of the other woman and her connection with Broadwell, 40, a graduate of the US Military Academy and an Army Reserve officer, were not known. According to the Washington Post, the second woman did not work at the CIA and her relationship with Petraeus remains unclear.

However, the e-mails indicated that Broadwell saw her as a threat to her relationship with the spymaster, the paper said.

Concerned that the e-mails Petraeus exchanged with Broadwell raised the possibility of a security breach, the FBI brought the matter up with Petraeus directly, according to an official.

The FBI approached the CIA director because his e-mails in the matter were in most instances sent from a personal account, not his CIA one.

Petraeus quit on Friday, ending a high-profile career that might have seen a run for the presidency, a notion he was believed to be considering.

The House intelligence committee chairman, Mike Rogers, and the ranking Democratic member, Dutch Ruppersberger, will meet the FBI deputy director, Sean Joyce, and the CIA's acting director, Michael Morell, on Wednesday to ask questions, including how the investigation came about, according to a senior congressional staffer.

Petraeus has been married for 38 years to Holly Petraeus, the daughter of the West Point superintendent when he was a student at the New York school.

Steve Boylan, a retired army officer and former Petraeus spokesman, said: "He is truly remorseful about everything that's happened. He screwed up, he knows he screwed up, now he's got to try to get past this with his family and heal."

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse