In early May Jill Kelley, an unpaid social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, receives five to 10 threatening emails. Kelley did not know who sent the emails but fearing for her safety complained to Frederick Humphries, an F.B.I. agent who is also a personal friend.
The first email sent anonymously to referred to Kelley socializing with other generals in the Tampa area and suggested it was inappropriate and should stop, according to the source close to Kelley. More anonymous emails were sent from multiple alias accounts — and some later ones in the sequence contained references to Petraeus, though not by name.
Kelley asked Humphries ‘What do you make of this?’ Humphries replied: ‘This is serious. They seem to know the comings and goings of a couple of generals.’
Some commentators have questioned whether the bureau would ordinarily investigate a citizen complaint about unwanted e-mails, suggesting that there must have been a hidden motive, possibly political, to take action. But law enforcement officials insisted on Monday that the case was handled “on the merits.”
According top a source who talked to NBC News, what most alarmed Kelley and the FBI, the source said, were references to “the comings and goings” of high-level generals from the U.S. Central Command, which is based at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, and the U.S. Southern Command, as well as Petraeus — including events that were not on any public schedule. This raised the question as to whether somebody had access to sensitive — and classified — information. Moreover, the sender of the emails had “covered her tracks pretty well,” the source said.
One e-mail accused Kelley of “touching” Petraeus inappropriately under a dinner table.
The New York Post reported that the emails contained such language as: ‘I know what you did,’ ‘back off’ and ‘stay away from my guy.’ The official added: ‘[Broadwell] clearly thought something was going on’ and thought she was in a ‘lovers triangle.’ Some emails appeared to be accusing her of an inappropriate relationship but didn’t name Petraeus.