Petraeus Scandal ‘Socialite’ Suing Government For Violating Privacy

January 6, 2014 11:13 a.m.
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Jill Kelley, the Tampa, Fla. woman who set off the scandal that brought down former Central Intelligence Agency director David Petraeus, has filed a lawsuit against three federal agencies and a number of current and former officials, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

According to the Times, Kelley asserts that the government “violated her privacy, defamed her and improperly gained access to her email without her consent, all in a way that hurt her reputation and livelihood.”

Kelley seeks damages and a formal apology from the government for having her identity made public after she reported threatening emails. Kelley assumed the emails were a crime. They actually came from Paula Broadwell, a woman who was having an affair with Petraeus.

In the course of the investigation, FBI investigators examined Kelley’s emails and found what they described at the time as potentially “inappropriate communication” with Gen. John Allen, then the top American commander in Afghanistan. The release of Kelley’s name, and news reporting on her role in the social scene surrounding MacDill Air Force Base, subsequently made her a fixture of tabloids, where she was regularly described as a “Tampa socialite.”

Kelley’s lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., is “half legal document and half news release,” according to the Times. The Pentagon inspector general cleared Allen of wrongdoing after investigating the emails between him and Kelley, and Kelley and her husband continue to maintain that the allegations of impropriety were “nonsense.”

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