SEX SCANDAL

The other 'other woman' fends off Petraeus media pack

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2012, 2:56am

The woman identified as the source of an FBI probe that led to the downfall of David Petraeus asked for privacy as she hosted a lavish birthday party for one of her children on the front lawn of her mansion-style home near MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

Jill Kelley, 37, a volunteer social liaison with military families at the base, declined to speak to news crews gathered outside, with the exception of a society columnist for the Tampa Bay Times. The newspaper later reported that she had expressed "her family's continuing fondness for Petraeus".

A source close to the Petraeus family confirmed that Kelley, and her husband, Scott Kelley, a Tampa cancer surgeon, became friends when Petraeus was stationed at MacDill from 2008 until 2010 as commander of the military's Central Command (Centcom), which runs operations in the Middle East.

The couples stayed in touch, later meeting in Washington when the Kelleys visited relatives.

The source stressed Kelley and Petraeus "are longtime friends and nothing more".

The FBI investigation that led to the discovery of Petraeus' affair with author Paula Broadwell was sparked by threatening e-mails from her to Kelley.

Broadwell apparently thought Kelley was a rival for Petraeus' affections.

The CIA director's name unexpectedly turned up in the course of the investigation.

"We and our family have been friends with General 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," Kelley said in a statement.

The Kelleys regularly made the guest list for military functions at MacDill and also hosted Petraeus and his wife at their home in 2010, to observe the city's colourful annual Gasparilla pirate festival.

After Petraeus left Tampa, the Kelleys remained involved in military social affairs at Centcom.